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SpaceX Stacks Starship Atop Super Heavy Rocket For The First Time –‘Dream Come True,’ says Elon Musk

by Evelyn Arevalo August 06, 2021

SpaceX Stacks Starship Atop Super Heavy Rocket For The First Time –‘Dream Come True,’ says Elon Musk

The possibility of extending life to Mars looks closer than ever in South Texas, where the small Boca Chica Beach village is transforming into SpaceX’s Starbase spaceport. The aerospace company is taking on the challenge to develop a reusable spacecraft to enable humanity to build a sustainable city on the Red Planet before 2050. To achieve this, SpaceX founder Chief Engineer Elon Musk expects the company to manufacture a fleet of 1,000 Starships within the next 20 years at the Starbase production factory. He aims to have the Starship launch system ready for operational missions in less than three years. Japanese Entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa booked the first civilian voyage around the Moon, scheduled for the year 2023. 

Today, August 6, SpaceX stacked Starship atop a Super Heavy rocket at the Starbase launch pad for the first time. The 394-foot-tall vehicle is the world’s largest rocket, taller than the Statue of Liberty. Musk shared stunning photographs of the enormous rocket via Twitter and said that it is a “Dream come true” to see the vehicle he designed finally stacked. “An honor to work with such a great team,” Musk wrote. The Super Heavy booster is equipped with 29 methane-burning Raptor engines that will turn it into the most powerful rocket in the world once the vehicle becomes operational. 

 

SpaceX employees cheered with excitement to see their hard work take shape. To celebrate the first stacking operation they played music at the launch pad through a loud speaker – “Starships” by Nicki Minaj, as well as “Fly me to the moon” by Frank Sinatra, according to local residents who captured a short video clip of the music, shown below. 

SpaceX is preparing to conduct its debut orbital Starship test flight. This morning’s stacking operation was a ‘fit test’, the spacecraft was unstacked this afternoon to continue pre-flight preparations at the assembly facility, which is located less than 3-miles down Highway 4 road at Boca Chica. A TESMANIAN correspondent arrived to Starbase when Starship was unstacked. The road was cleared by Cameron County Sheriff as the Starship SN20 vehicle was transported to the assembly facility, pictured below.

Starship SN20 escorted by Cameron County Sheriff down Highway 4 on August 6, 2021. /Images Source: Tesmanian.com Evelyn Arevalo @JaneidyEve via Twitter

Before starting to conduct ground tests, Musk shared they must complete “4 significant items” which include, installing the “Final heat shield tiles for ship.” He said that the Starship SN20's heat shield installation "is ~98% done, but the remaining tiles are unique shapes requiring machining." They will also add “Thermal protection of booster engines,” complete work on the “Ground propellant storage tanks,” and add a QD [quick disconnect] arm for ship.” The arm will be integrated to the newly-built orbital launch tower that is roughly 400-feet-high. Musk expects that they will take 2 weeks to complete this work. Once completed, SpaceX will proceed to conduct testing at the launch pad. The test campaign is expected to initiate with a series of proof tests to ensure the stainless-steel vehicle is strong enough to withstand the stresses of an orbital flight. If the pre-flight ground tests go well and SpaceX obtains approval from regulatory agencies, Super Heavy (Booster 4) will propel Starship (SN20) to orbit from Texas and they will attempt to land Starship in the ocean off the northwest coast of Kauai, Hawaii.

 

 

 

Featured Image Source: SpaceX Elon Musk








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