SpaceX preparing for 1st Starship Super Heavy booster static fire
The Orbital Launch Tower for SpaceX’s Starship launch system got its final section over the weekend as the company continues to press toward the first static fire of a Super Heavy booster.
Last week, Super Heavy Booster 3, which is a non-flight pathfinder, successfully underwent a cryogenic pressure test ahead of its upcoming static fire. According to a tweet from SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, as well as scheduled road closures at the Boca Chica, Texas, launch and build facility, the company is preparing to fire the three Raptor engines currently installed at the base of the booster this week — possibly as early as July 19.
Nearby, progress continues to be made on the Orbital Launch Tower as the eighth and final major section was stacked into place on Sunday, July 17. This is the first section that is different from the previous seven pieces already put into place on the behemoth structure.
According to CNBC space correspondent Michael Sheetz, the Federal Aviation Administration has not yet approved the construction of the Orbital Launch Tower as it conducts its environmental impact assessment.
However, as the original warning dates back to as early as May, it is not yet clear whether the company and the FAA have come to an agreement.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the production site, the 11th Booster engine known as Raptor Boost 11, was delivered to Starbase last week. These add to the many other Raptor engine variants appearing at the South Texas site.
Final few moments of stacking… filming the last scenes from the water pic.twitter.com/AA0UXgI9jt
— Cosmic Perspective (@considercosmos) July 18, 2021
Having a life-long interest in crewed space flight, Desforges’ passion materialized on a family vacation in 1999 when he was able see the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery on STS-96. Since then, Desforges has been an enthusiast of space exploration efforts. He lived in Orlando, Florida for a year, during which time he had the opportunity to witness the flights of the historic CRS-4 and EFT-1 missions in person at Cape Canaveral. He earned his Private Pilot Certificate in 2017, holds a degree in Aviation Management, and currently works as an Operations Analyst in the aviation industry in Georgia.