From time to time, Elon Musk shares the progress of the entire Starship system from the SpaceX rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas.
On Thursday, he tweeted a spectacular photo of the aft (bottom) section of the world’s biggest rocket booster Super Heavy. The moment captured in this image shows SpaceX engineers working on a system that will be able to feed fuel to 29 Raptor engines.
“Completing feed system for 29 Raptor rocket engines on Super Heavy Booster,” Musk tweeted.
During launch and flight, the engines installed under a rocket booster constantly need to be turned on or off depending on the altitude and conditions. So, this enormous work of plumbing is one of the finest and most advanced pieces of engineering of the 21st century.
The massiveness of this structure can be understood by look at the following picture where an Elon Musk follower and enthusiast was able to find and point out 23 SpaceX employees working on this Super Heavy system.
“Yeah, SpaceX team is cranking hard!,” Elon Musk acknowledged the hard work of the SpaceX team working on this marvel of rocket engineering.
After the first-ever static fire test on a Super Heavy booster prototype (Booster 3) in July, Musk said that SpaceX might try a 9 Raptor engine firing with this same booster.
So, this might not be Booster 3, this is most probably another prototype that is way closer to the one SpaceX is planning to test with 32 or 33 Raptor engines later this year.
SpaceX currently has more than 100 Raptor engines at bay as the space exploration company announced last week. In addition to this, SpaceX is preparing to start a new Raptor engine factory in McGregor, TX to ramp up the production even more than the current rate of 1 Raptor produced every 48 hours.
So there is no short supply of Raptor engines to be installed in both the Starship and the Super Heavy rocket booster. Super Heavy is the first stage of the entire Starship spaceship ultimately aiming for the Mars mission.
On the fun side of things, when a Musk fan showed him the pic of Sarlacc (sandworm from Star Wars) and asked if this was the inspiration of the Super Heavy Raptor plumbing system, “I mean of course,” said Elon Musk.