VIDEO: Elon Musk Gives Everyday Astronaut A Tour Of The SpaceX Starship Launch Tower

VIDEO: Elon Musk Gives Everyday Astronaut A Tour Of The SpaceX Starship Launch Tower

Featured Image Source: Everyday Astronaut via YouTube & Twitter @Erdayastronaut

Spaceflight science communicator Tim Dodd is known for making rocket science understandable for everyday people through in-depth educational videos on his YouTube channel called 'Everyday Astronaut.' He got an exclusive first-look at the SpaceX Starbase facility where the aerospace company is developing the Starship launch system that will enable humans to return to the Moon and set foot on Mars. 

SpaceX founder Elon Musk invited Dodd to the Starship rocket factory at Boca Chica Beach, Texas, and he got a tour of the Starship launch tower! The 469-foot-tall launch tower is equipped with giant clamp-like robotic arms designed to stack the 160-foot-tall Starship atop the 230-foot-tall Super Heavy rocket. It will also ‘catch’ the stainless-steel vehicle(s) as it descends to the launch pad soon after propelling a Starship to orbit. The launch tower will enable the company to recover the 250-ton rockets quickly to relaunch in under an hour. Full and rapid reusability is needed to enable frequent space travel.

Dodd had the opportunity to interview Musk as they walked through the facility and launch pad. He created a series of four videos to share with thousands of space enthusiasts subscribed to his YouTube channel. He released two videos this month, linked below. In the videos they discuss technical aspects of the launch vehicle that is actively under development, as well as the importance of making life multi-planetary. 

Dodd and Musk got on an elevator to climb up the enormous launch tower and showed an incredible view down the launch pad and the ocean. SpaceX engineers and Musk briefly talked about how SpaceX plans to 'catch' the Starship and Super Heavy rocket with the launch tower arms. "[...] It's still super crazy… at SpaceX we specialize in converting the impossible to late," said Musk. 



SpaceX’s main focus is to achieve launching Starship to orbit soon. "[...] The key to making life multi-planetary is a fully-reusable rocket, that's the key," said Musk while looking out into the horizon atop the tower. "It's just very hard to achieve full reusability given the strength of Earth’s gravity field and the density of the atmosphere. Fully-reusability is relatively easy on Mars, which has around 37-38% of Earth’s gravity and about 1% atmospheric density but it's just barely possible to achieve reusability on Earth," he explained. 

The company is still pending regulatory approval to perform the first orbital flight test this year. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is conducting an environmental assessment of the Starbase launch site to ensure safe spaceflight operations. The facility neighbors a U.S Wildlife Refuge and a public beach. The FAA plans to complete its assessment on May 31st; once completed, SpaceX will be able to apply for a Starship flight license. It has not been confirmed whether Musk plans to attempt catching the Super Heavy rocket with the launch tower arms sometime this year. According to an orbital flight plan released in 2021, engineers plan to land the booster in the Gulf of Mexico Ocean during the debut orbital flight to minimize the risk of destroying the launch tower and ground support equipment if something goes wrong during Super Heavy's first launch and landing attempt. Watch Everyday Astronaut's YouTube video below! 

VIDEO: Everyday Astronaut Starship Launch Tower Tour



 Featured Image Source: Everyday Astronaut via YouTube & Twitter @Erdayastronaut

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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