SpaceX attached 29 Raptor engines to its spaceship’s super-heavy booster in just a few hours. With this, the company wants to speed up the planned orbital flight.
Elon Musk’s space company, SpaceX, is close to the first planned orbital flight of its Starship spacecraft. A total of 29 Raptor engines and four so-called mesh fins were attached to the rocket’s first (booster) stage called Super Heavy overnight. To observers, this massive effort is a signal to the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to expedite the suspended takeoff clearance.
Spacecraft: Orbital flight likely won’t begin until fall
The start of the Starship is already planned for July. However, the FAA has not yet completed an environmental review According to C-Net It can take several months. August is also a long way from a possible start date, although SpaceX is said to have submitted the ESA request as early as May. The date in the fall is currently considered realistic.
In any case, the spacecraft itself appears to be almost done. Ship 20, the prototype of the upper tier of the spaceship, is nearing completion. It is currently questionable whether the Super Heavy was actually fully equipped with 29 Raptor engines. Originally the booster was said to have 33 motors. With 230 tons each, it should generate a total of 7,600 tons of thrust, according to Musk. The Super Heavy alone is 65 meters high, nine meters in diameter and weighs nearly 5,000 tons when fueled.
Spacecraft and Booster: Landing After Orbital Flight
As part of the orbital flight, the spacecraft must be brought to a maximum altitude of 116 kilometers and then land in the sea off Hawaii, such as Futurezone writes. The heavy booster will detach a few minutes after takeoff and then land on a converted oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico. To date, the height of the spacecraft models has not exceeded 10 kilometers. After four prototypes exploded, the Starship SN15 was able to land successfully on the fifth attempt in May.