Starship Booster 4, Ship 20 arrive at SpaceX Texas launch site
Work on the first orbital Starship rocket is proceeding at breakneck speed at SpaceX’s South Texas rocket facility, Starbase, as Booster 4 and Ship 20 are both now at the launch site.
Starship is a fully-reusable, two-stage rocket system that SpaceX is creating as part of its plan to send humans and cargo to the Moon, Mars and beyond. It consists of a booster and a ship, which together stand some 390 feet (120 meters) tall.
Then, on Aug. 3, SpaceX rolled the booster from its on-site build facility at Boca Chica, Texas, to the launch site where the Orbital Launch Tower and Orbital Launch Mount. It was added to the launch mount on Aug. 4.
On Aug. 5, Ship 20, with its thermal protection system nearly completed, was also rolled from the build site to the launch site. It’s expected to be stacked on top of Starship Booster 4 at some point in the coming days.
While the next steps for the program are not officially known, there is still a lot of work that remains before SpaceX can perform the first orbital flight of the Starship launch system.
Both Booster 4 and Ship 20 both likely need to begin a series of fit checks, cryogenic proof tests, static fire tests, and much more. Exactly when the orbital flight will take place is not known.
Once the behemoth rocket is launched, the booster will splash down in the Gulf of Mexico about 20 miles (32 kilometers) offshore. While future iterations of the booster are expected to return to the launch tower to be caught, at least this initial flight is slated to perform a soft water landing.
After stage separation, Ship 20 will proceed most of the way to orbit to circle Earth almost once, reentering the atmosphere less than 90 minutes later before performing a soft water landing in the Pacific Ocean just north of Hawaii.
Theresa Cross grew up on the Space Coast. It’s only natural that she would develop a passion for anything “Space” and its exploration. During these formative years, she also discovered that she possessed a talent and love for defining the unique quirks and intricacies that exist in mankind, nature, and machines. Hailing from a family of photographers—including her father and her son, Theresa herself started documenting her world through pictures at a very early age. As an adult, she now exhibits an innate photographic ability to combine what appeals to her heart and her love of technology to deliver a diversified approach to her work and artistic presentations. Theresa has a background in water chemistry, fluid dynamics, and industrial utility.