It marks the first time SpaceX has shipped a vacuum-optimized Raptor engine to the Boca Chica, Texas Starship plant, days after the company reiterated its current plans for its first orbital launch effort in July.
Back in March 2021, CEO Elon Musk confirmed that he would be targeting SpaceX in Starship’s first orbital launch attempt. after By the end of July – about four and a half months at that time. fifteen weeks later Although the trend for orbiting efforts occurred in July has dwindled to zero. But SpaceX’s chief operating officer and chairman Gwynne Shotwell, known for serving as the base foil in estimating Musk̵7;s often impractical schedule, stressed that the company remains. “Filming in July” for Starship’s first spaceship launch.
at the end of June Hitting that target would have required SpaceX a lot of engineering and rocket prowess in record time or trying to cut an extremely unorthodox corner.
The launch pad and the rocket launch equipment required for Starship’s first space launch are not yet ready for flight. On June 24, Musk unexpectedly revealed that the SpaceX Super Heavy booster prototype was in its prime. The last part of the assembly Indeed, it is not a booster that will carry Starship on the first space launch attempt. In other words, although dozens of rings in various operating conditions power Filled with SpaceX’s Boca Chica plant, the company has yet to begin assembling the massive 65-meter (~215-foot) tall booster needed for its first orbital launch attempt.
Using Super Heavy Booster 3 (B3) as a ruler Assembly can easily take 9-10 weeks. It starts whenever the process actually starts if SpaceX starts stacking Booster 4 today. It’s unlikely the rocket would be a would. complete By the end of August, SpaceX will also be taking unprecedented shortcuts. Adding a booster is only part of the preparation process for flight, and B4 still needs to qualify for flight. This will likely involve at least one freeze test and one static test.
In the best case scenario, SpaceX started assembling today. The booster 4 assembly time can be halved in one go. The second Super Heavy sneaker ever completed a qualification test in a week. Proponents of in-orbit flight testing remain unfavorable. Ready to install Starship (presumably the first time ever) before mid-August.
This will give SpaceX five or six weeks to fully assemble the Starship S20, a process that hasn’t yet begun, much like the Starship SN15, which Musk said has “hundreds of improvements.” There will be another set of upgrades required for Starship’s orbit. The SN15 starships gradually stacked up and formed over almost four months. The slow assembly, though, could be blamed on the fact that SpaceX is busy testing the SN8 spacecraft through SN11 and is waiting to see if other major changes will be made. May be necessary or not .
While most of the S20’s upgrades are a mystery, the ship’s Thrust Dome, spotted at work in Boca Chica earlier this month, is a mystery. It has been confirmed that the prototype will be the first to have the hardware necessary to mount the Raptor Vacuum engine. That could mean the S20 will be the first spacecraft to attempt to fire six Raptor engines*, potentially providing more thrust than the Falcon booster. 9 On June 27, a single-vacuum adjustable Raptor (RVac) arrived in Boca Chica for the first time, making it clear that the relatively new engine might be ready to begin testing the integrated Starship.
*Update: SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said the Raptor Vacuum delivered to Boca Chica on June 27 was actually for the Starship S20, which seems to confirm that the prototype will fly with all six Raptor engines.
Of course, in addition to Starship and Super Heavy, SpaceX to There’s still a lot of work left to make the rocket’s first orbital launch facility partially operational. SpaceX will need to complete and activate at least one or two custom-built rocket storage tanks. Cover three or four tanks with a ‘shell’ that looks like three or four large thermos. Assemble thousands of feet of insulated plumbing and wires to complete a large ‘Launch table’. Mount that table on a six-legged ‘launch mount’. electronic system hydraulics Refueling equipment and plumbing, complete ~145 m (~475 ft) ‘tower’ and perform the first fit check and shake test with a real booster or spacecraft.
Then SpaceX will be can To try to launch Starship’s first spaceship, all told, probably not. literally It’s impossible for SpaceX to complete all of the above tasks in less than five weeks. But it’s safe to say that the likelihood of it happening could make lottery tickets blush. whether the spacecraft will reach that orbit any Before the end of 2021, it will beat simpler “next-generation” rockets such as ULA’s Ariane 6, ULA’s Vulcan and Blue Origin’s New Glenn, even starting joint development a year later and having a much less funding scenario.