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Spacecraft and Launch Tower and Orbital Test Preparation |  Updates from Starbase

Spacecraft and Launch Tower and Orbital Test Preparation | Updates from Starbase

The success of SpaceX With its Starship SN15 prototype It has finally set the stage for a new phase for the airline, which can finally look to the times ahead with greater optimism. The next few months might be particularly interesting and soon the reason is being said, SpaceX can change gears and move on to the next stages of its project.

As we’ve mentioned several times, current spacecraft models are only part of the equation, given that the spacecraft has only been tested so far. Still missing the super heavy first stage, which is the booster that would take care of the propulsion in the initial stage, and the whole support structure for this process.

If with the Falcon 9 SpaceX he has almost achieved distinction, it is recent news that With Unit B1051, a new reuse log is created, With Super Heavy and Starship things are going to be a lot more complicated. In recent days, plans for the first orbital test have finally come to light, thanks to brief documents SpaceX provided to the FCC. According to reports, the flight won’t take place before June 30 (but it’s also likely that July is unlikely, and August seems to be the most likely month for sure).

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Even the prototype of the Starship SN15 SpaceX moves were more straightforward, but the situation now leaves many possibilities open among them is a possible reuse of the winning prototype. Let’s see what the news is, thanks to this all-in-one community feed that carefully monitors every step from the Boca Chica, Texas area.


After the last orbital test was successful, Elon Musk said on Twitter The SN15 would have flown againHowever, since that day he has not provided any updates on this issue. So we entered a phase of uncertainty, and the little information available is, as always, the result of observing what happens in Starbase: this is how the SpaceX area in Boca Chica has been renamed.

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The SN15 spacecraft settled for a few days on the landing pad, before it was transferred to the launch pad B. We can call it a small record, given the fact that the high-altitude test started from the launch pad A. that should fly again, it will be the first vehicle Spaces are reused and made use of launch pads.

It appears that the car is currently undergoing a full inspection, with a special focus on the Raptor engines, which are awaiting eligibility to operate again. Hence, there are many options at the moment for the SN15, as it could start over with some ground testing, which could include a new cooling test followed by the motors’ static ignition test. But we cannot even exclude that after the examination the flight will be decided quickly. At the moment there is no certainty.

Starship SN16

While the fate of the SN15 spacecraft remains mysterious, SpaceX It works on the Starship SN16 prototype, What could persuade SpaceX to skip subsequent numbers to get straight to build Starship SN20, the prototype designed for orbital testing in July.

At the moment, we know that the spacecraft is in the process of final preparation inside Hai Bai, but what appeared to be a specific trajectory (and perhaps would have happened if SN15 failed), is currently unclear. The most recent photos indicate that final assembly work has been frozen, or at least slowed down. For example, it is clear that the heat shield test panels have not yet been applied to the hull of SN16. Although these tests will remain non-functional, the SN16 high altitude test may differ from previous tests for a goal we can define as a double aspiration, which is to reach an altitude of 20 km.

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The idea we came up with is that the fate of SN16 is closely related to that of SN15, but at this point it shouldn’t be long before we know more. What is certain is that before attempting to climb with one of the two prototypes, the site must be clear and this will involve moving the two gigantic cranes currently in operation to the new orbital launch site.

Launching the ORBITAL website

SpaceX seems to be focusing more on developments Orbital launch site (OLS)Without which the programs identified in the coming months could not be continued in any way.

We talked a little above about the two cranes currently used to build the launch tower site, a necessary condition for the first test of this type, which would require the spacecraft stacking the spacecraft above the Super Heavy booster. . LR1600 / 2, aka Tankzilla, It was recently used to reposition the SN15 on launch pad B. There is also a second support lift, called LR11350 but SpaceX has renamed it Frankenkran Because it is caused by different attachments of different lifters.

Last Sunday, the first pieces that would form a third crane, LR 11000 (for which we are looking forward to a new title …) arrived, but in the meantime the two older sisters were used not only to transport prototypes, but in particular to continue to assemble the launch tower and locate Tanks.

As mentioned in the previous article previously conducted prior to the SN15 launch, SpaceX began installing various raw material tanks using components and methodologies very similar to those of the Starship assembly, that they were initially confused with new prototypes in construction. At the moment, two have been assembled, while the third is now ready for transportation and the fourth is being stacked.

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SpaceX appears to want to set up the Launch Tower structures before the first-stage prototype, the Super Heavy BN3, hits the board. This will be the first test to be used for orbital testing with the Starship SN20, as shown above.

However, if the launch tower allows the first stage of recovery in the future, this will not happen with the first orbital test, and we will rely on soft disposal, according to FCC documents.

Finally, SpaceX’s plans include not only restoring the first stage via the launch tower, but also the two Floating space ports Phobos and Deimos (As a tribute to two Mars moons). It is currently located in southern Texas, in Port Brownsville, near the SpaceX facility in Boca Chica, where Starship is being developed. The two former oil platforms are currently undergoing transformation, but it is still too early to talk about them as it will take so long to see them in action.

Meanwhile, the Starbase project is finally official and in the last few days the illuminated signage has been installed. Elon Musk’s dreams continue to take shape slowly, and we will continue to dream with him.

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