SpaceX is preparing for a full-scale static fire test on Starship 20 (previously SN20). In the previous static fire test attempt last month, SpaceX only fired a single vacuum-level Raptor engine on SN20.
This time, SpaceX is going to fire all 6 Raptors on this Starship prototype. These 6 engines are divided into 3 vacuum-level and 3 sea-level engines. The sea-level engines with narrow bell nozzles are located in the center ring. While the vacuum-level Raptor engines (RVac) with a wider bell nozzle exhaust are placed in the outer ring of the Starship engine bay.
This setup was shared in the following photo by the company’s CEO Elon Musk when the Raptor engines were first installed on SN20 as a trial back in August.
A resident of the Boca Chica Village, local observer, and reporter for NasaSpaceFlight.com, Mary (@BocaChicaGal) recorded and posted the activities at Starbase for the entire day yesterday (video below).
Besides the work going on Starship SN20, we can also witness the SpaceX employees working on Mechazilla & Chopsticks, the Quick Disconnect arm, further work progress on the launch mount, and further thermal heat tiles being applied to the Starship 21 prototype.
Super Heavy Booster 4 prototype is now covered with COPV (composite overwrapped pressure vessels) to hold the gasses inside the rocket at the time of testing and launch.
The new Liebherr LR11000 crane can also been seen at the Starbase launch site. SpaceX custom-ordered this crane with the white, black, and gray colors with the SpaceX logo. This crawler crane has a 1,000 tons of max load capacity with a 200 meters max hoist height and a 184 meter radius.
Although, a NASA document revealed that the first Starship orbital launch test is expected to take place in March 2022 but SpaceX CEO Elon Musk wants to make this happen this month. He requested for public support in order for the FAA to provide the approval on time for the orbital flight test.