BROWNSVILLE, Texas (ValleyCentral) – SpaceX is making great strides towards the first orbital launch of its reusable Starship spacecraft. During a dry run early Friday morning, the aerospace company stacked the Starship SN20 and Super Heavy B4 prototypes on the orbital launch pad at the Starbase facility.
SpaceX is wasting no time preparing for the first orbital flight of its Starship and Super Heavy rocket prototype, collectively known as the Starship.
Two weeks after the company’s CEO, Elon Musk, called on several hundred employees to temporarily relocate to the region in an effort to increase production, the prototype of the over 400-foot spacecraft was implanted in the orbital launch pad.
The fully assembled ship stood upright for a few minutes before the SN20 was removed from the booster to facilitate further work that needs to be done at the production site up the road.
The main developments this week included the assembly of six raptor engines, three regular raptors and three empty raptors, on the SN20, as well as its complete assembly and transport to the launch pad. The Starship stack was scheduled to take place on Thursday, but a source told ValleyCentral that high winds hampered the process.
Last week, the company launched its 230-foot booster rocket, B4, equipped with 29 raptor engines to the orbital launch pad.
When completed, Starship will be tasked with transporting humans and cargo around Earth and to the Moon and Mars.
Amid the rapid progress, SpaceX is still awaiting environmental review of the new integration tower by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Due to the amount of testing still to be carried out with the prototypes, a launch is not expected before the end of the year.