STARBASE, Boca Chica, TX – “Hard to believe it’s real, except, you know… it’s right there.”
Elon Musk took the stage here on Thursday night (February 10) to deliver what his company, SpaceX. Towering behind him at SpaceX’s South Texas Launch Site (or “Starbase”) is the first to be fully stacked Spaceshipincludes a prototype spacecraft of the same name mounted atop a mock-up of its even taller “Super Heavy” booster.
The steel-leather vehicle, glittering in the spotlights illuminating it in the night sky, readied itself on its launch pad as if ready to fly.
“From design to construction, this tower took 13 months,” Musk said. Just the night before, the arms of the tower were used to clamp the spacecraft like a pair of chopsticks and then lift it up and down the booster.
Musk said he has even more grandiose plans for the tower when Super Heavy returns after launching the Starship into space.
“We’re aiming for rapid reusability, which is why boosters will take off and then fly back to the launch tower and land aspirationally, which sounds crazy.” “, Musk said, explaining the “catch” part of the launch and catch tower. “If it came too quickly and severed the arms, then I guess it would be ‘a goodbye to weapons.'”
“What’s really worth emphasizing is that the entire launch system, which is essentially stage zero, is as complex and difficult as the booster system or the ship,” Musk said. “It’s a very difficult job that requires a lot of engineering. The tower and the launch system, which I call ‘stage 0’, are really as important as stage one or stage two.”
SpaceX’s ability to use the tower where it hinges upon approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) after recent environmental assessment about how Starship launches will affect the surrounding area, including the densely populated beach community of Boca Chica and the surrounding town of Brownsville. If the FAA requires a more stringent environmental review, Musk said SpaceX may have to move operations to Florida and NASA’s 39A Launch Complex at kennedy space centerThe FAA is registered to use it.
“Our worst case scenario is that we will be delayed by six to eight months to build the Cape [Canaveral] launch tower and launch from there,” he said.
On the other hand, if the FAA issues its approval in the next few weeks, Musk said that the first Starship to enter Earth orbit could soon be ready to fly.
“I think we’re going to have the hardware ready to go,” Musk said. “Right now, we’re on track to get regulatory approval and hardware ready at the same time. Hopefully, in the next few months for both.”
Musk’s presentation ended with a The same media event that SpaceX hosted in 2019, where he introduced the first Starship model. Some new details have been shared, except that he delves a little deeper into the Starship’s ability to recharge (refuel) in orbit and that he describes the upgrades made to the Starship. a new version of the rocket’s Raptor engine, including 33 engines on the booster and nine on the Starship. The new Raptor “version two” (V2) streamlines the design.
“The V1 looks like a bunch of Christmas tree spaghetti – lots of ‘rubbish’ pieces. V2 is greatly simplified while increasing thrust,” Musk said.
The Starship is being built to serve a number of purposes, Musk said, including the ultimate goal of allowing humanity to become a multi-planetary species. In the near future, the company plans missions in Earth orbit and to moonThe vehicle was later chosen by NASA to land the next US astronauts on the surface of the Moon.
Asked by Space.com if NASA’s schedule could be met, would it be necessary to develop each piece of “Rapidly Reusable Spacecraft” from the space agency’s Human Landing System (HLS). no, Musk thinks otherwise.
“I don’t think there’s really a conflict there. We’re going to build a lot of ships, a lot of boosters – obviously a lot of engines,” he said. “Adding legs to land on the moon, that can be done pretty quickly, so I don’t really see any contradiction between achieving reusability quickly and going to the moon. “
“High production rates solve many evils. So we’re aiming for high production rates,” Musk said.
https://www.space.com/elon-musk-starship-update-starbase-2022 Elon Musk shows off a fully stacked SpaceX Starship as the first launch into orbit is coming