SpaceX Starbase Extension Dropped, Starship Updates, Crew Dragon Axiom-1, Amazon Project Kuiper
Not only all the big progress during the week with Starship Development, but plenty more to catch up on as well. We have SL
wet dress rehearsal updates. On Friday, four private astronauts were launched to the International Space Station with Axiom Space on the Crew Dragon.
Amazon has announced 83 rocket launches for its broadband satellite group, Project Kuiper. Rocket Lab helped Black Sky set company records and draw surprising conclusions from Hubble.
First, an interesting piece of Starship development news unintentionally this week is leaving from the orbital launch pad in Florida. On Tuesday night, SpaceX shared a photo of the Falcon 9 and Dragon vertical at Pad 39A for the launch of Axiom 1.
Right next to the Falcon 9, you can see a foundation for the base of the Orbital Launch Tower under construction, and right behind that you can see what’s possibly ground-breaking even for an orbital launch mount.
SpaceX Launch Video-
Now at Starbase in Texas, in a newly released letter, applications for the site expansion plan, previously filed with the US Army Corps of Engineers in 2021, citing a lack of documentation from SpaceX, and the launch facilities installed at Kennedy His decision to do so was withdrawn.
That expansion at the launch site will include Orbital Launch Mount B, another landing pad, and more. This tweet from Mauricio of RGV Aerial Photography shows where the proposed expansion will take place. SpaceX has the option to reapply for site expansion.
But I don’t think that will happen anytime soon with the lack of launch approval from the FAA and with them ramping up the launch site in Florida. Speaking of which, Greg Scott and Pharrell took another flight to the Cape. It’s worth noting that the new flight restrictions limit how close they can get to Roberts Road, but there’s still a lot we can see at this distance.
Next Orbital Launch Tower The third level of Starship is now vertical and almost complete, with more sections ready to go. If we zoom in here you can also see that at least two, maybe three more pads have now appeared for the tower section construction.
There may be a total of 9 or 10 pads being made of these. The land and foundation work here also blows my mind. SpaceX is making huge progress here. It’s very easy to be able to see these perspectives, so if you can support flights there please do.
Digging into Starbase’s update, after being taken to the launch site last week, Booster 7 was attached to a crane right next to the booster testing stand, called Cane Crusher. It looked like plans had changed after the cranes were disconnected so that the two could individually roll onto the orbital launch pad.
From here that night, Booster 7 was re-attached to the crane. The next morning, it was carefully lifted from the booster transport stand, raised into the air, and towed to the orbital launch mount. It was lowered slowly into the launch ring before the initial test. During that liftoff, Nick with NASA Spaceflight captured this spectacular shot that allowed us to see a partial look at the skirt.
It’s pretty clear that all of the Raptor plumbing, wiring, and gimbal hardware is already on the booster which should make installation of the Raptor 2 easy. With this version of the engine being simpler than the Raptor 1, it will be interesting to see how fast they add up this time around.
On Sunday afternoon, a booster quick disconnect was attached to Booster 7 and the LR11000 crane was detached from the vehicle that evening.
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