It’s a good thing there was a little pause on launch activity as we wouldn’t have time to fit them in anyway. This week has clearly been one of Starship news and interesting information. Not to mention the Starship presentation on Thursday.
A few quick mentions with the loss of a bunch of Starlink satellites and some Mars updates as well. Let’s jump right into this, because we have a lot to talk about. For the third time, SpaceX has installed Booster 4 on an orbital launch mount. However, this time it was all in preparation for Elon Musk’s Starship presentation on Thursday.
Okay, first of all, I need to clear up an obvious mistake from last week. Now you were quick enough to point this out in the comments, so thanks a lot. Obviously, we were all thinking that SpaceX would use the arms to lift Booter 4 onto the mount.
SpaceX instead chose to install the booster on an ‘orbital launch mount’ with a crane. This was added for a few days to allow the tanks to depressurize.
Booster 4 was towed by a crane last Sunday and the vehicle soon made its way to the launch site. Here, it was once again attached to the crane and workers were entered inside the tanks to carry out further work. A few hours later the hatch was closed.
Now this is where we thought the crane would be disconnected and the booster would roll under the arms and be lifted up like that. However, the next morning the crane was still attached and the clamps on the transport stand retracted as Booster 4 swung in the air. Now, in the last few weeks we have seen a lot of work on the basis of boosters in which aerocovers are being installed.
The engine cover and Raptor bell being painted, however, was obstructed by a lot of them by stands. Once it was taken off the stand we were offered an unobstructed view to compare the changes made since the last time this booster was picked up.
It lifted into the Texas sky for the third time before carefully lowering into the launch ring. Although the photographer who took this shot could not be identified, it was shared on Twitter and Reddit. The image garnered a lot of attention and it’s not hard to see why. Here we can see that the shielding is placed around the engine giving it a polished finished look.
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Once the 20 hold down clamps were extended to hold on to Booster 4, the main booster quick disconnect was also extended, connecting the vehicle to ground support equipment. By the next morning the crane was disconnected and the ship quick disconnect and booster stabilization arm was moved to Booster 4. Check out this awesome footage by Labpadder.
You can see that it expands and contracts significantly which allows it to move easily around the starship and booster. Now on the ship’s stack. We knew that Starbase didn’t have a crane big enough to lift Ship 20 on Booster 4, meaning SpaceX had no choice but to use weapons to do so.
After Booster 4 was secured to the launch mount, we saw several signs that preparations were underway to use the weapons to lift Ship 20. Later that night we saw the first test of the ship’s quick disconnect umbilical cord. It was raised up and out to the side where it would connect to the onboard quick disconnect panel.
As I mentioned last week, some sort of attachment was required to slot into these mount points on the Starship. Ultimately the next day, these lifting tabs were positioned on the chopsticks, so the arms were ready to hold the S20.
After a delay of few days, the day, or should I say night has finally arrived, yes sorry for all those who missed the lift. Just after 10 p.m., Ship 20 rose up at arms for the first time. They remained on the vehicle, undergoing load testing for about an hour, while also attaching two small stabilization arms to the side of the ship.
Then finally the time came. Giant robotic arms began lifting Ship 20 around noon. Only 15 minutes later and with only one pause during lift, the ship reached its peak with its nose tip slightly shy of the top of the launch tower.
Watch multiple SpaceX drones swinging rockets in this beautiful timelapse by NASASpaceflight. The arms later rotated the ship by about 45 degrees, until it was just above.
Booster 4 Interstage. The launch tower’s starship quick-disconnect arm then snapped in, and deployed the stabilizing claw to hold it on Booster 4 to ensure it was completely stable. Then came the process of lowering the ship to the booster interstage which took a long time.
Many thanks to LabPadre and the team for having me on the livestream while all of this is happening. We had so much fun talking about the Starship as the ship descended in the morning. The next morning we were offered so many beautiful shots as the sun rises.
The giant stainless steel reflects the golden light from the rocket. We even took the RGV straight into the air, capturing the entire Mekazilla system in action from this awesome aerial vantage point. If you compare this to the same shot from 6 months ago when Ship 20 was first put on Booster 4 and by the crane, you can see how much has changed in that time.
Elon Musk’s much-anticipated backdrop was actually ready for presentation later that day. So yeah, it was already an exciting week at this point, and the presentation was just coming up. I was flooded with comments and questions throughout the excitement up to this point. Thanks a lot for all that. We had a very good conversation on all this.
Thanks to the huge number of you who checked and found that Youtube actually unsubscribed you from the channel here without your knowledge. I am very confused seeing a large number of customers disappearing here and there from time to time. This has been a real 2 step forward, a recent one step back kind of deal.
As many of you have shared, you are actually automatically sorting. Really appreciate your support there in what we do and stay with me. This is a great help. Elon Musk first revealed SpaceX’s plans for Mars with a giant, fully reusable Mars rocket in September.
Which was then known as the Interplanetary Transport System or ITS. At that time the vehicle was to be 12 meters in diameter, 122 meters long, and was made almost entirely of carbon-fibre composites. Now just five years later, and years of building and testing a few dozen prototypes, we are now at the point where Elon stood in front of a fully erected starship for the 2022 Starship presentation.
So what did we learn from Elon this time? Of course the main update regarding the Raptor 2 was what SpaceX offered us to compare the Raptor 2 SN5 next to the Raptor 1.5 RC86. Check out this Raptor 2 test video that comes out. Right now the Raptor 2 is producing 230 tons of thrust, although they are aiming for 250 eventually.
In addition, SpaceX is completing about one Raptor 2 every day, each costing half the price of the original Raptor 1. Then of course what most of us were looking forward to is an updated Starship orbital flight animation. First, the camera verifies two orbital launch towers to see what the future of the launch site will look like.
A fully parked starship on the pad was already refueling with clouds of vapor coming from the vehicle. The camera then transitioned under the skirt, revealing 33 Raptor engines. Ended liftoff! Soars up in the sky.
Once the BN is out of Earth’s atmosphere, the ship detaches from the booster with its own Raptor firing, while the booster spins and begins to burn the boostback.