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Raumfahrt - SpaceX’s Elon Musk: odds of Starship reaching orbit by 2020 are “rising rapidly” Update-11

5.12.2019

Welcome to Boca Chica, the Tiny Texas Town Where SpaceX is Building its Starship

A tiny community on Texas' southernmost tip has become a prime destination for the spaceflight faithful.

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Two fans photograph SpaceX's rocket in Boca Chica

The last thing the residents of Boca Chica expected were the spaceships. Hurricanes, yes. Border walls, maybe. But the gleaming metal rockets that began hurling themselves into the sky atop pillars of flame were unexpected, to say the least.

When Elon Musk announced that his aerospace company, SpaceX, was considering the small coastal village as a potential location for their facilities in 2013, Boca Chica was a sleepy backwater at Texas’ southern tip. Today, an interplanetary spaceship is being built just down the road.

And, along with SpaceX came a glut of aerospace geeks, rocket enthusiasts and SpaceX fans. Some drive from Brownsville, the nearest city up the coast, or farther afield, while legions more tune in to the round-the-clock webcams broadcasting the company’s actions. To support our burgeoning obsession with the minutiae of spaceflight, a cottage industry of homegrown SpaceX observers has sprung up in this retirement paradise. They’re drawn by a simple, shared mission: to watch the future unfold.

Starship Construction
SpaceX's Starship under construction in Boca Chica. (Credit: IrinaK/Shutterstock)

Sun, Sand and Spaceships

Austin Barnard, a college sophomore in Brownsville, drives the 45 minutes to the SpaceX facilities multiple times a week. He regularly posts photos from Boca Chica to his more than 11,000 Twitter followers, informing the world about the progress of a future interplanetary spaceship.

Bernard hasn’t always been a SpaceX “fanboy,” as he calls himself. He stumbled upon SpaceX videos online after a rough time in his life, and his Boca Chica observations soon followed.

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Starship and Starhopper seen from across the water in Boca Chica. (Credit: Austin Barnard)

Barnard began driving to the SpaceX facility with his phone after a few friends told him there was something going on there. He posted a few pictures to Twitter, and soon had thousands of SpaceX fans following him.

“I had a whole bunch of fans before really even starting my Twitter account,” Barnard says.

He now runs one of the most prominent Twitter accounts documenting events in Boca Chica. HisTwitter account even landed him some one-on-one time with Musk at the latest Starship update.

A perennial favorite is SpaceX’s biggest, shiniest craft to date: Starship. First announced in 2017 as the BFR, or Big Falcon Rocket, it may be the rocket that will eventually take humans to Mars. Sleek illustrations show the rocket landing vertically on the Red Planet, off-planet colonies agleam in the distance.

The futuristic craft has begun to take shape only recently, though. For a long time, Barnard was posting pictures of what looked like a big metal silo in the middle of nowhere.

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An up-close glimpse of the construction for Starship (left), with the test vehicle, Starhopper, directly next to it. (Credit: Austin Barnard)

For Rachel Gore, the excitement began when she found out SpaceX had chosen Boca Chica as a launch facility. Gore, an administrator for the tourist website SPadre.com, already had webcams set up for locals and tourists to monitor surf and fishing conditions. Now, the site has a dedicated webcam focused on developments in Boca Chica to cater to those visiting with interstellar dreams.

“Obviously, SpaceX is the biggest thing to ever come to the area and the addition of space tourism is going to be great for the island economy,” Gore said.

Spaceport Construction
The spaceport under construction in Boca Chica in January 2019. (Credit: IrinaK/Shutterstock)

In addition to the webcams, Gore makes the trip out to the SpaceX facilities several times a week with her husband, Gene. She’s especially attentive when things are progressing quickly, like when Starship was transported to the launch site in in preparation for testing.

Their photos and updates end up on the SPadre.com-affiliated Twitter account, where they stir excitement among the SpaceX faithful. The webcam was extremely popular on the day that the lower and upper sections of the Starship prototype were welded together. Thousands of fans watched as the spaceship’s body took shape.

Creating a Community

It’s evident on Twitter that there’s a bond between the SpaceX watchers in Boca Chica. People retweet photos and alert each other if they notice any additions to the spacecraft. Some of them run into each other at the SpaceX site.

“They’re basically my alarm clock,” Barnard says of his followers. Many of them keep their eyes on the live webcams, including SPadre.com’s, and try to alert Barnard if something major is happening on the grounds.

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Starship Mk1 against the Boca Chica sunset. (Credit: SpaceX/Flickr)

Gore also says she’s become familiar with many of her fellow SpaceX fans.

“We have become close friends with many of the supporters and enjoy hanging out and sharing in the excitement,” said Gore. “We really enjoy all of the conversations and support we have had from SpaceX followers, both in person and on social media.”

Barnard often sees tourists around Boca Chica, including fans from abroad. Not satisfied with a webcam, international fans have begun traveling to this tiny Texas town to see the beginning stages of SpaceX’s flagship rocket for themselves. But their access may soon be limited.

The Future of Boca Chica 

While SpaceX’s arrival in Boca Chica brings tantalizing possibilities for the private spaceflight industry, it’s thrown the town’s own future into jeopardy. Rocket launches are inherently dangerous, and as Musk’s ambitions put more and more rockets into the air, it could threaten the safety of the residents of Boca Chica. The SpaceX CEO offered a solution recently, though not all the residents are happy about it.

"Probably, over time, [it’s] better to buy out the village and we’ve made an offer to that effect,” Musk said during a press briefing in September.

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A fully assembled test version of Starship. (Credit: SpaceX/Flickr)

Each resident of Boca Chica received a private buyout offer in the mail, according to Business Insider. But a buyout could mean residents would be forced to leave their homes. Homeowners were offered up to three times their property value and VIP viewing for future launches on the Texas coast. Some residents told Business Insider they’ll take the offer; others are fighting it.

Not only will this affect those living in the town, but Barnard says it will make it more difficult for him and fellow SpaceX watchers to view launches. They may have to move to South Padre Island, more than twice as far away from the launch pad as Boca Chica.

But even if they do, Barnard, Gore and their fellow SpaceX faithful will still be on the front lines of the modern-day space race. What’s more, they’ll be sharing it with all of us, allowing space enthusiasts the world over to join in the excitement. One day, they may even be showing us the first human mission to Mars.

Quelle: Discover

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Update: 4.01.2020

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SpaceX's New Starship Prototype Could Fly in Just 3 Months, Elon Musk Says

SpaceX already leases more than 8 acres of land in the outer harbor of San Pedro. Yet the company largely uses those grounds as a transition point for when its rocket boosters land on a barge and need to be shipped back to SpaceX headquarters near Los Angeles International Airport. This deal would add 18 acres in the heart of the Port of L.A., on Terminal Island.

SpaceX declined CNBC’s request for comment on the discussions. Port of Los Angeles spokesman Phillip Sanfield confirmed that negotiations were ongoing with SpaceX but declined to comment further.

The Daily Breeze, a local L.A. daily newspaper, first reported the news.

Buscaino said that SpaceX CFO Bret Johnsen came to his office two weeks ago and apologized for backing out of the deal the first time, adding that SpaceX had a new vision for how to continue developing Starship. The rocket, designed to be fully reusable and carry as many as 100 people to space, has so far been built and tested at SpaceX facilities in Texas and Florida. But the majority of SpaceX’s more than 6,000 employees work at its headquarters within driving distance of the Port of L.A., so Buscaino believes it’s a natural addition for the company.

“I’m happy to know that Brett saw that it is fitting today, that it is a good business decision to keep its employees in the area,” Buscaino said.

According to the councilman, the new factory would bring 300 jobs – more than two-thirds of which would come from SpaceX HQ. Additionally, Buscaino said Johnsen pushed to see how quickly a new agreement could be drawn up. The facility itself would be a large tent-like structure, similar to those used when Tesla was ramping production of its cars in recent years.

“They want to be up and running within the next 90 days,” Buscaino said.

The Port of L.A.’s commissioners will discuss the permit next Thursday, with a deal coming as soon as the commission’s Feb. 20 meeting.

“We have daily calls with SpaceX and the city entities just to make sure that we’re continuing to be on the same page,” Buscaino said. “This would be a long-term lease agreement with SpaceX, with the investment coming from SpaceX itself.”

The port would provide SpaceX with immediate access to water, key to transporting its immense rocket from a production facility to launch sites in either Texas or Florida. SpaceX currently moves Falcon 9 rockets across the highway on super long trucks, but Starship and its “Super Heavy” booster would be too large to transport on the road.

Buscaino personally is a fan of Musk’s, writing in a tweet that the billionaire “is the modern-day Henry Ford, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Howard Hughes all rolled into one.”

“My message to Elon Musk and other innovators: If you want to try something new, come to my district,” Buscaino said. “We won’t get in the way.”

 
VIDEO01:13
Watch SpaceX’s Starship rocket blow its top off in pressure test
Quelle: NBC News
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Update: 6.02.2020
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SpaceX requests permission to fly new Starship rocket on 12-mile-high test flight

The company wants the ability to fly as soon as March

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A test version of Starship that SpaceX debuted in September has since been retired.
Photo by Pauline Acalin for The Verge

SpaceX is already planning the next big test flight of its future Starship rocket out of southern Texas. As early as mid-March, the company is hoping to fly a test version of the vehicle to a super high altitude and then land it upright on solid ground, proving the rocket can be reused and potentially touch down on other worlds.

The upcoming test is detailed in new paperwork SpaceX filed with the Federal Communications Commission, which provides licensing to aerospace companies that are hoping to fly their vehicles to space. Specifically, the FCC allocates which radio frequencies companies can use to communicate with their vehicles during flight.

SpaceX notes in its filing that it wants special authority to communicate with its Starship rocket while the vehicle flies to an altitude of 12.4 miles or 20 kilometers — nearly halfway to the edge of space. Starship would take off from SpaceX’s test facility at Boca Chica, Texas, and the company would attempt to land the vehicle near the launch site using the rocket’s Raptor engines. SpaceX also plans to send data of the vehicle’s trajectory to both the Air Force and NASA.

Such a test would be a significant step forward in the development of Starship, a massive new rocket that SpaceX is building to send people to deep space. Once complete, Starship is meant to launch into orbit on top of an equally massive rocket booster — called the Super Heavy — and then travel onward to distant destinations like the Moon and Mars. CEO Elon Musk has claimed that Starship will be able to lift more than 100 metric tons of payload or carry up to 100 passengers at a time.

That future is still a long way off, though. So far, SpaceX has done ignition tests of Starship’s Raptor engines, and last year, the company flew a scaled-down prototype of Starship to a height of 500 feet, successfully landing the vehicle upright afterward. In September, Musk boldly predicted that Starship would be flying to orbit within the first quarter of this year. However, that timeline likely won’t pan out. A test version of Starship blew its top during a pressure test in November, and the company decided to scrap flying that vehicle altogether. Since then, SpaceX has been working on new test vehicles out of Boca Chica, and the company is reportedly considering the idea of manufacturing Starship rockets out of Los Angeles again.

Still, flying any Starship vehicle above 12 miles will be a big step toward sending the rocket to orbit. SpaceX’s FCC filing requests permission to fly as early as March 16th, though it’s possible the test might not occur for a while. The filing requests quite a long window, giving the company until September 16th to perform this high-altitude flight.

While SpaceX preps for this flight, the company is also on the lookout for those who want to work on the Starship program. Musk announced on Twitter that SpaceX is hosting a career day this Thursday in order to staff up people to oversee Starship development at Boca Chica. Musk noted that people need to have “a super hardcore work ethic, talent for building things, common sense & trustworthiness.” People can be trained on all the other requirements for the jobs, Musk said.

Quelle: The Verge

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Update: 8.02.2020

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SpaceX is holding a Starship career day to ramp up its Mars colonization effort

And the company wants to launch a Starship 12 miles up by September.

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SpaceX wants to put the pedal to the metal on its Starship Mars colonization system.

The company is hosting a Starship career day today (Feb. 6) at its facility near the South Texas village of Boca Chica, where the big spaceship is coming together.

"This is mainly for staffing up 4 production shifts for 24/7 operations, but engineers, supervisors & support personnel are certainly needed too. A super hardcore work ethic, talent for building things, common sense & trustworthiness are required, the rest we can train," SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said via Twitter Tuesday (Feb. 4).

That explanation came a day after another tweet, in which Musk stressed that Starship production is already humming along. "Going max hardcore on design/production Starship here in Boca. It's awesome! Feels a bit like a Mars simulator," the billionaire entrepreneur wrote. ("Hardcore" appears to be the term of the moment.) 

Starship is a 165-foot-tall (50 meters) spacecraft that SpaceX is building to take people to and from Mars, the moon and other distant destinations. The ship will launch off Earth atop a huge rocket called Super Heavy; both of these vehicles will be reusable. (Starship is powerful enough to get itself off the moon and Mars, both of whose gravitational clutches are much weaker than Earth's.)

The only version of Starship to get off the ground to date is a single-engine prototype called Starhopper, which made a few brief test flights last year before being retired. But that could change soon; SpaceX has filed paperwork with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to launch a 12-mile-high (20 kilometers) test flight with Starship between March and September of this year, The Verge reported.

Things will move quickly after that, if all goes according to SpaceX's plan. Company representatives have said that the first operational Starship missions, which will likely loft commercial communications satellites, could launch as early as 2021.

And SpaceX has one crewed Starship mission on the docket already: Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa booked the vehicle on an around-the-moon flight, with a targeted launch date of 2023.

Quelle: SC

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Update: 20.02.2020

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SpaceX beginning final assembly of Starship SN1 ahead of roll to the pad

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SpaceX teams have begun stacking Starship SN1 in Boca Chica, Texas. The rocket is gearing up for its first flight, which will see the vehicle fly to around 20 kilometers in altitude and then propulsively land back at the launch facility.

(Lead Photo by Jack Beyer for NSF)

SN1 is SpaceX’s second Starship vehicle to be built in Boca Chica. The original Starship – named Mk1 – failed cryogenic pressurization testing. The failure prevented Mk1 from getting the chance to fire its three Raptor engines.

SN1 is currently intended to be SpaceX’s first Starship to perform a flight.

Unlike the Mk1 build, where SpaceX began stacking the vehicle from the beginning of production, teams are taking a more pragmatic approach with SN1.

Instead, the vehicle is being assembled in smaller chunks which will then be welded together during final assembly.

SpaceX recently stacked two of the chunks together to complete the majority of SN1’s tank section. Due to the sections being mostly completed before stacking, the final assembly of SN1 should occur much faster than Mk1.

It is understood that SpaceX is currently hoping to have the entire vehicle stacked and moved to the pad by the end of the month.

If all goes well, a static fire of the SN1 vehicle’s three Raptor engines could then occur in early March, potentially setting the stage for the 20 kilometer hop within a few weeks of the static fire.

However, due to the fluid nature of test campaigns, setbacks and schedule slips are likely. Unfavorable weather is also forecasted over the next few days, potentially leading to additional delays.

While this timeframe may sound ambitious given that only the tank section of the vehicle has been stacked together so far, all of the remaining sections of SN1 are currently being stored inside of the tents in Boca Chica.

 

 

SpaceX has been rapidly adding additional tents to support Starship production. The new structures have helped shield the teams and the hardware from the harsh South Texas weather.

A second windbreak is also being assembled and is far taller than the original. The new windbreak is tall enough to also support the eventual assembly of a Super Heavy booster – the first stage for the complete Starship-Super Heavy launch system.

A primary point of improvement for the SN1 test vehicle has been the quality of the steel barrels, which make up the rocket’s primary structure. A side-by-side comparison of the SN1 barrels next to the Mk1 barrels shows far fewer welds on the newer barrels.

Mk1’s fairing stands next to SN1’s stack via Jack Beyer for NSF L2

Over the past several weeks, SpaceX has built and tested several prototype tank sections based on the improved production techniques. Teams have made solid progress, with the most recent test successfully handling 8.5 bar at cryogenic temperatures.

Once SN1 is at the pad, SpaceX will likely perform a wet dress rehearsal – where the Starship is fully loaded with propellants – to ensure that the full-scale vehicle properly handles the cryogenic fuels.

Teams will then perform fuel preburner and ignitor tests with the three Raptor engines before eventually moving into the static fire test.

If all goes well, SpaceX will then proceed with the 20-kilometer hop.

While SN1 remains the company’s short term focus, SpaceX is also quickly preparing for the future of Starship production.

Numerous other facilities across the country are being readied for production to ramp up.

Flyby Photo of McGregor – Photo by Gary Blair for NSF/L2

At the company’s test facility in McGregor Texas, SpaceX recently completed the first hot firing of a Raptor engine on the iconic tripod stand.

The tripod stand was previously used for static fires of the Falcon 9 rocket but was sidelined when an upgraded test stand for Falcon 9 was built. Due to a need for a vertical Raptor test stand, SpaceX began modifying the tripod stand to support Raptor engine tests in the final months of 2019.

Raptor is the methane-fueled engine that will power SpaceX’s Starship and Super Heavy vehicles.

Additional Starship activity was also recently spotted by NASASpaceflight.com photographer Nathan Barker at SpaceX’s Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Raptor stand construction near LZ-1 via Nathan Barker for NSF L2

A Starship-like tank section appears to be under construction near the landing zone. It is understood that SpaceX plans to build a Raptor test stand at the facility.

Finally, on the west coast, SpaceX intends to once again build a Starship production facility at the Port of LA. The company pulled out of a lease agreement with the port last year after deciding to focus on building the vehicles in Texas and Florida instead.

SpaceX is now interested in a new agreement to utilize the Berth 240 at the Port of LA, as the company has decided that additional production real estate will be required to supplement their existing facilities.

Quelle: NS

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Update: 21.02.2020

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SpaceX wants to build its Mars Starship at Port of L.A. — again

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SpaceX CEO Elon Musk debuts a prototype of SpaceX’s Starship Mars spaceship near Boca Chica Beach in Texas in September 2019. SpaceX is poised to do more Starship work at the Port of Los Angeles.
(SpaceX)

SpaceX created excitement in 2018 when it said it would build its Mars spaceship and rocket at the Port of Los Angeles, striking a deal to lease a swath of Terminal Island for the purpose.

Early last year, it changed its mind and moved the work to Texas.

Now it wants back in — and officials are poised to grant its wish.

The L.A. Board of Harbor Commissioners voted Thursday to approve a new permit for Elon Musk-led SpaceX to lease that same piece of land and establish and re-purpose facilities there to make aerospace products. The prime candidate: SpaceX’s Mars system, known as Starship.

The deal still needs approval from the L.A. City Council, which is scheduled to take up the matter next week.

“I’m really excited to see what SpaceX will be able to bring for the future of not only space exploration and technology in Los Angeles, but also to the Port of Los Angeles,” Board of Harbor Commissioners President Jaime Lee said minutes before Thursday’s vote.

The Starship project’s return to the Port of L.A. began last month, when SpaceX contacted the Harbor Department and City Councilman Joe Buscaino. The Hawthorne-based company had been building Starship prototypes at its facility near Boca Chica Village in Texas, but it needed additional manufacturing capacity, SpaceX told Buscaino’s office.

SpaceX wants a spot by the water because the spacecraft and parts it plans to manufacture will be too large to transport by road and must be taken to the eventual launch site — which could be in Texas or Florida — by barge or ship.

 
 

The company already has a foothold at the port: When it launches satellites from Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc, it often lands the reusable first-stage rocket boosters on a floating platform in the Pacific Ocean, then brings them back to a berth at the Port of L.A.

“I’m confident that we’re doing our part in securing this lease and keeping [SpaceX] here for the long haul,” Buscaino said last week. “The lesson I’ve learned is, because this industry is so fluid, there could be surprises along the way. And I’m hopeful that the surprise is the expansion of the workforce.”

The SpaceX facility could create 130 jobs, according to a documentfrom the Port of L.A. That’s far fewer than in the 2018 proposal, which predicted the creation of about 700 jobs.

The new proposal does not include construction jobs. SpaceX didn’t submit a construction plan because the company is not sure what it will eventually build, said Marisa Katnich, the port’s director of cargo and industrial real estate. For now, SpaceX plans to refurbish five buildings at the site and may also raise a tent-like structure.

SpaceX plans to use its port facility for research, design and manufacturing. Although a SpaceX representative did not mention Starship during his presentation at Thursday’s meeting, he noted that one of the company’s goals is to create an interplanetary society and that Mars is part of that plan.

SpaceX says on its website that this year, it hopes to launch Starship on a test flight that — rather than aiming for Mars — would reach Earth’s orbit. In the past, the company has said its “aspirational” goal is to send cargo missions to Mars in 2022.

“We have ambitious goals for the [L.A. port] site, ambitious timetables,” said Matthew Thompson, senior director of environmental health and safety at SpaceX.

In withdrawing from the L.A. site last year, SpaceX said it had decided to build and test the Starship prototype in south Texas to “streamline operations.”

 

The company tests rocket engines and other components in McGregor, Texas. It builds Falcon 9 rockets and Dragon capsules and does its main design, engineering and manufacturing work in Hawthorne, and it launches from Florida as well as from Vandenberg Air Force Base.

During Thursday’s meeting, Harbor Commissioner Lucia Moreno-Linares noted last year’s reversal of plans and said she hoped that this time, “everybody delivers on their promises.”

The initial permit covers 12.4 acres at the former Southwest Marine site at Terminal Island, with an option to expand to 19 acres. It would last 10 years. SpaceX could then opt for two 10-year extensions.

The Southwest Marine site at Berth 240 has been derelict for 15 years. The location was first developed for shipbuilding in 1918 and was acquired by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp. not long after. During the heyday of World War II production, the shipyard produced about 40 Navy destroyers and employed 6,000 people.

Quelle: Los Angeles Times

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Update: 28.02.2020

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SpaceX Starship rolls to Texas launch pad ahead of next big test campaign

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SpaceX’s first flightworthy Starship prototype has rolled to its South Texas launch pad just hours after it was welded together and is now preparing for several critical tests it must pass before it can be deemed ready for liftoff.

Fabricated and assembled with incredible speed at SpaceX’s growing Boca Chica, Texas Starship factory and test facilities, the vehicle SpaceX moved to the launch pad earlier today (Feb 25) is meant to become the first full-scale Starship prototype to take flight. Following in the footsteps of the Starship Mk1 prototype, deemed too shoddy to launch and pressurized to destruction in November 2019, the first serial build (SN01) of an improved line of Starship prototypes appears to have taken less than a month to go from first weld to the launch pad.

CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter earlier today to confirm the Starship SN01 tank section’s move to the launch pad, further noting that the tank assembly is now preparing for Raptor engine installation ahead of a static fire test. According to NASASpaceflight.com, SpaceX wants to complete that static fire and launch Starship SN01 as early as next month – a seemingly improbable target that just got much more likely with the rocket’s tank section already at the launch pad. Most importantly, however, the speed with which SpaceX has been able to assemble and prepare Starship SN01 suggests that even if things go wrong or plans change, another completed prototype could be ready to head to the pad just a few weeks from now.

On February 25th, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk posted a screenshot taken from a livestream created by SPadre earlier that day, noting that Starship will soon have engines installed in preparation for a critical static fire test.

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Under the cover of an incredibly thick fog bank, Starship SN01 was lifted onto a Roll Lift transporter and carefully moved from its factory facilities to SpaceX’s Boca Chica launch pad at 4:30 am PST. Around 7:30 am PST, the giant rocket tank was lifted onto the pad’s Starship mount and technicians have been working to connect SN01 to the ground systems ever since.

Built out of stainless steel, Starship SN01’s tank section – referring to the combined liquid oxygen tank, liquid methane tank, and engine section – stands about 30m (100 ft) tall and likely weighs at least 30-45 metric tons (~70,000-100,000 lb) as it stands. While SN01 is clearly missing its pointed nose section (‘nosecone’) and flaps, among other parts, its tank section has been moved to the launch pad to perform tests that don’t involve the ship’s aerodynamic properties.

Starship Mk1 – SpaceX’s first attempt at a full-scale prototype – was fabricated and stacked piece by piece over the course of nine months before its tank section – looking almost identical to SN01 – first rolled to SpaceX’s launch pad on October 30th, 2019. Three weeks later, it was intentionally pressurized until it popped after engineers concluded that its production quality was too low for a flight test attempt to be worth the effort. On the other hand, the first of Starship SN01’s steel rings was definitively completed in the last week of January 2020, quite possibly just four weeks before the completed tank section was rolled to the same launch pad.

With that kind of speed, it’s no surprise that Musk says SpaceX will start stacking Starship SN02’s tank section this week. Intriguingly, Musk also stated that Starship SN02 would have three Raptors installed, avoiding the original question’s focus (SN01). As such, it appears that Starship SN01 may only have one Raptor installed for a static fire test and would be unlikely to ever fly if that were the case. It’s possible that after two highly successful (and explosive) pressure tests of smaller Starship test tanksthat were completed last month, SpaceX still wants to perform a similar pressure test with a fully-integrated, full-scale Starship tank section to confirm that the smaller tank results carry over.

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(NASASpaceflight – bocachicagal)

Whether SN01 is still destined for flight, it’s safe to say that Starship SN01 tank testing could begin in a matter of days — SpaceX currently has early-morning roadblocks indicative of such testing scheduled from February 29th to March 2nd. SpaceX is likely to kick off by filling SN01 with water to check its tanks for leaks, followed by liquid nitrogen – chemically neutral but still incredibly cold. After that, SN01 would likely graduate to Raptor engine installation and a wet dress rehearsal (WDR) with liquid oxygen and methane before moving on to a static fire attempt, if all goes well.

Quelle: TESLARATI

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