SpaceX’s “choppers” have been busy lately, and a new video shows them in action.
The chopsticks are arms attached to “Mechazilla”, the launch tower in Starbase, SpaceXin southern Texas. Mechazilla raises and lowers Super Heavy boosters and the Starship spacecraft – two components of the next generation giant SpaceX Starship Vehicle – on Starbase’s orbital launch pad using chopsticks, as new video shows.
The video, which SpaceX posted to Twitter on Friday (October 21), captures the ship’s 24 stacking over Booster 7 on Thursday (October 20). SpaceX is preparing this duo for Starship First-ever orbital test flightwhich could happen in the next few months if the tests go well.
Launch and capture the Starship stacking tower at Starbase pic.twitter.com/KOpX8tZMHhOctober 21 2022
“Launch and Capture the Starship Stacking Tower at Starbase,” SpaceX He wrote in a Friday tweet (Opens in a new tab).
As this observation indicates, the Mechazilla is expected to be a multipurpose structure, hosting the spacecraft’s landing as well as takeoff. If all goes according to plan, it will be the giant tower at the end Catch the super heavy vehicles (Opens in a new tab)using chopsticks to support the boosters under the steering ‘grid fins’, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk He said.
Mechazilla will then place the Super Heavy directly on the orbital launch pad, potentially allowing incredibly short mission times for the spacecraft, according to Musk. (SpaceX is already known for the frequent reuse of its column Falcon 9 missile, but these reinforcements land in landing areas or on ships at sea, then must be transported back to the launch pad.)
Stacking the Ship 24 over Booster 7 on Thursday was a regrouping, as the duo was first joined on October 11.
And there’s still a fair amount of work to do before Booster 7 and Ship 24 are ready for their tropical moment. For example, SpaceX has yet to power all 33 of the Booster 7’s Raptor engines; The company has conducted “constant-fire” tests on the missile but has so far ignited a maximum of seven engines simultaneously. None of the Booster 7 engine tests were conducted with the 24 ship attached.
SpaceX isn’t focusing all of its Starship energies on this particular duo; The company continues to build and test other prototypes as well. For example, SpaceX rolled the Ship 25 vehicle into the Starbase sub-orbital launch pad on Wednesday (October 19), as Note Jack Bayer from NASASpaceflight (Opens in a new tab).
Mike Wall is the author of “Abroad (Opens in a new tab)Book (Great Grand Publishing House, 2018; illustrated by Carl Tate), a book on the search for extraterrestrials. Follow him on Twitter Tweet embed (Opens in a new tab). Follow us on Twitter Tweet embed (Opens in a new tab) or on Facebook (Opens in a new tab).
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