SpaceX shares image of super heavy booster bristling with 33 newly installed Raptor engines

Not too long ago, SpaceX passed its programmatic environmental assessment (PEA) with the FAA, although many corrective actions were recommended. With this obstacle in its rearview mirror, SpaceX is busy preparing the Spatialship and Very heavy prototypes for their orbital test flight. Saturday July 2, the company pictures posted on his Twitter feed which showed Spatialship (SN24) and Very heavy booster (BN7) equipped with all the Raptor engines – 33 Raptors for the BN7, 6 for the SN24 – which will take them into space.

Photos of the BN7s engines (left) show its 33 Raptor 2 engines – optimized for sea level – arranged in two concentric circles with three clustered in the center. On the other hand, the SpatialshipThe motor complement includes three Raptor 2s arranged around an outer ring and three Raptor Vacuum motors (optimized for space) arranged in a cluster in the center. This is the latest configuration of the fully reusable Super Heavy Launch System, which will be fully stacked for orbital flight testing.

Based on previous filings with the FCC, this test will see booster BN7 and SN24 launch together from the spaceport and separate by approximately 170 seconds in flight. The thruster will then make a soft landing at sea approximately 30 km (20 mi) from the Texas coastline. SN24 will reach an altitude of 200 km (~125 mi) before making a targeted soft landing about 100 km (62 mi) off the Hawaiian island of Kauai. Total flight time will be approximately 90 minutes and will validate (if successful) the launch system for multiple mission profiles.

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One of the most important is not the deployment of Starlink V2.0 satellites, that the Spatialship will dispense in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) as a “Pez Dispenser”. As Musk told in a recent interview with everyday astronautthe Spatialship is absolutely essential to the creation of Stellar LinkThe constellation of next-generation satellites:

“It’s the only thing that can carry Starlink Two satellites. We’ve already produced the first, and we have in place, the first Starlink Two and it’s seven meters long (23 feet). [The] Falcon [9] lacks the volume or mass-orbit capacity required for Starlink Two. So even though we scaled down the Starlink Two, Falcon’s total mass is not enough to make Starlink Two.

Beyond sending satellites to LEO, the Spatialship and Very heavy are essential to Musk’s long-term vision of transporting cargo and passengers to Mars. In line with this vision, Musk hopes to quickly build Ships into the company’s Starports in Texas and Florida (at Cape Canaveral) and quickly stack them using the “Mechazilla” launch towers. This way, SpaceX can optimize the lead time of its launches and accommodate regular flights to Mars, each of which can carry 100 passengers or 100 megatons of cargo.

Artist’s concept of the SpaceX Starship on the surface of the Moon. Credit: SpaceX

The variant of Spatialship will also act as a Human Landing System (HLS) for NASA Artemis III mission, currently scheduled to launch by 2025. As part of the Artemis program, this mission will be the first time astronauts have landed on the Moon since the Apollo era. According to the mission architecture that NASA recently shared, the Space Launch System (SLS) will send an Orion spacecraft and its four people into space while the HLS spacecraft (Where moon ship) launches separately and refuels in orbit.

The Orion spacecraft and its crew will then find themselves in lunar orbit, where they will transfer aboard the HLS and land on the lunar surface. Musk also indicated that he hopes to use the Spatialship send payloads and crews to the Moon to support future Artemis missions and NASA’s long-term goal of establishing a “sustained lunar exploration program.” Alas, the Spatialship and Very heavy The ultimate goal of the launch system is the creation of a self-sustaining city on Mars.

Although no date has been announced for the orbital flight test, Musk declared in June (shortly after the FAA released its report) that SpaceX would be ready to go sometime this month. Needless to say, many people are eagerly waiting for his company to deliver!

Further reading: Teslarati

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