SpaceX

SpaceX proof tests a brand new stainless-steel Super Heavy Booster at Starbase

SpaceX proof tests a brand new stainless-steel Super Heavy Booster at Starbase

Featured Image Source: @LabPadre via Twitter & YouTube 

SpaceX founder Elon Musk is hell-bent on making life multiplanetary. He leads a team of engineers who work around-the-clock to develop the Starship vehicle that will enable humanity to venture across the Solar System to explore other worlds. The Starship launch system consists of a spacecraft and a Super Heavy rocket, designed to propel it to orbit with 33 methane-fueled Raptor engines. When stacked, the rocket-ship is 120-meters tall; it is the world’s largest and set to become the most powerful operational rocket. SpaceX has spent the entire year preparing to perform its first-ever spaceflight of the fully-stacked launch system. During the debut orbital flight test, Super Heavy will propel a Starship prototype to orbit from Starbase situated at Boca Chica Village, Texas, and Starship will circle half-way around Earth to make an ocean landing near the coast of Kauai, Hawaii. 

SpaceX manufactured multiple stainless-steel prototypes to test. As of today, the Starship SN24 and Booster 7 prototypes are still undergoing pre-flight preparations to conduct the debut orbital flight attempt. However, if anything goes wrong during testing or if the debut flight fails, SpaceX already manufactured more prototypes to quickly resume the spacecraft’s development. SN24 and Booster 7 already underwent multiple tests. Now, engineers started to prepare the next prototypes in line – Starship SN25 and Booster 9.

Chief Engineer Elon Musk believes it is important to have a high production rate because it enables engineers to move on rapidly to test the next prototype after a failure. "A high production rate solves many ills. If you have a high production rate, you have a high iteration rate. For pretty much any technology whatsoever, the progress is a function of how many iterations do you have, and how much progress do you make between each iteration,” Musk said in 2020. “If you have a high production rate then you have many iterations. You can make progress from one to the next." 

On Wednesday, December 21, SpaceX performed a cryogenic proof test of the brand new Super Heavy Booster 9. The stainless-steel vehicle was rolled out from the Starbase factory to the launch pad down the road on December 15 and began its test campaign a week later. Videographer LabPadre shares live broadcasts of SpaceX’s Starbase operations. They set-up cameras outside the facility that livestream 24/7 views of the Boca Chica Beach launch pad. LabPadre shared a video of Booster 9 undergoing the cryogenic proof test, linked below. 

During cryogenic proof tests, engineers fill the booster’s tanks with inert liquid nitrogen to simulate the pressure the stainless-steel vehicle would experience during spaceflight. The frosty test is performed to assess the rocket’s structural integrity, as well as detect any leaks. With two sets of rocket-ships undergoing preparations, SpaceX will be able to speed up the launch system’s development in 2023. Simultaneously, teams are manufacturing more prototypes at the Starbase factory, and other teams are building a second orbital launch tower at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Ultimately, the company’s goal is to return NASA astronauts to the Moon by 2025 and send the first humans to Mars soon after. Watch LabPadre's 24/7 Starbase Livestream in the video featured below. 

VIDEO: LabPadre 24/7 Starbase Livestream 

 

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Featured Image Source: Courtesy of @LabPadre via Twitter & YouTube

About the Author

Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo

Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo

Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.

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