Elon Musk’s space exploration and satellite launch company SpaceX has achieved another big milestone today, stacking Starship SN20 on the Super Heavy rocket booster (Booster 4 prototype) for the 2nd time. The exciting thing about the latest Starship full-stacking is that SpaceX used the newly developed Chopsticks to lift Starship 20 onto the rocket booster.
The 1st time the same Starship 20 was fully stacked was back in August 2021. At the time, the stacking was achieved using super-large cranes. But since using the Chopstick arms to stack and destack Starship was Elon Musk’s dream, it has now become a reality.
Although SpaceX achieved the whole stacking process with 100% success, the whole process took more than 2 hours to complete — not like some rendering animations that showed it in just a few seconds. The team from NASASpaceFlight.com recorded the entire process using their robot cameras installed at Starbase Boca Chica, Texas (video below).
As Elon Musk felt really proud of the SpaceX team on this accomplishment, he shared several pictures of this stacking attempt on his Twitter including the following video.
SpaceX has designed and custom-built a launch tower for the Starship spacecraft and Booster 4 (collectively called the Starship). This launch tower is named Mechazilla and the arms used to lift and later on catch Starship and Booster 4 rocket on landing are called the Chopsticks.
In the above video posted by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, we can see that the Chopsticks are holding the Starship SN20 orbital flight spaceship in mid-air — this is ultra-amazing to watch, we are living in the era of Elon Musk.
Just earlier this week, SpaceX delivered the first fuel transfer tube with the anti-vortex device to Starbase which shows the company is accelerating towards the 1st orbital flight test.
Musk originally intended to perform the first Starship orbital flight in January 2022 but a NASA document suggests it’s going to happen in Mar 2022. These preparations suggest that we can have a strong hope for the Starship orbital flight next month. A new chapter in the history of SpaceX and Starship is about to be opened.
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- SpaceX tests the massive new Starship OLM water deluge system at full scale, Booster 9 propellant load test, Starbase updates
- SpaceX lifts Booster 9 onto the orbital launch pad ahead of tests, expands the Starship factory, more from Starbase, Texas
- Starship to get 3 more vacuum engines for a total of 42, SpaceX upgrades OLM at Starbase, Raptor V3 attains new milestone
- SpaceX performs a 6-engine static fire test on Starship 25 as it gets ready for the next orbital launch
- SpaceX starts rebuilding the Orbital Launch Mount at Starbase in preparation for the next Starship launch