SpaceX fueled a fully stacked Starship vehicle for the first time in its history on Monday (January 23). Dramatic photography preserves that process for posterity.
This is the dramatic color change of the silver Starship, brought about by loading over 10 million pounds (450,000 kilograms) of ultra-cold liquid oxygen and liquid methane propellants into the stainless steel vehicle tanks.
Refueling was part of the groundbreaking “wet dress rehearsal.” SpaceX on Monday At the Starbase facility in South Texas.
During the wet dress rehearsal, the mission team practices many of the procedures they will perform on launch day.Monday’s test will help space x Preparing for the all-important Starship liftoff — the vehicle’s first-ever orbital test flight and company founder and CEO Elon Musk said it could happen next month at the earliest.
But as SpaceX explained, the Starship vehicle, which consists of a first-stage prototype called Booster 7 and an upper-stage spacecraft known as Ship-24, will have a few more before it embarks on its milestone flights. must pass the test of
“After completion of wet dress rehearsals, like Starship’s first full flight, Ship 24 will be lowered from Booster 7 in preparation for static fires in the booster’s 33 Raptor engines,” the company said. . another tuesday tweet (opens in new tab).
A static fire is another common pre-launch test in which the engine is briefly ignited while the vehicle remains fixed to the ground.To date, Booster 7 has maxed out at 14 out of 33 Raptors simultaneouslyShip 24 light up all six of that raptor September last year.
SpaceX has big plans for Starship.Musk believes, for example, that giant vehicles can be built soon Mars An economically viable settlement. And he says Starship will eventually handle most, if not all, of his SpaceX spaceflight missions.
NASA is also investing in Starship. For example, a government agency chose the vehicle as its first manned lander. artemis programaims to establish a permanent and sustainable presence on and around the Moon by the end of the 2020s. If all goes according to plan, Starship will land astronauts near the moon’s south pole for the first time around 2025.
Mike Wall saysthere (opens in new tab)(Grand Central Publishing, 2018, by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. follow him on twitter @Michael Dowall (opens in new tab)Follow us on Twitter @space.com (opens in new tab) or Facebook (opens in new tab).