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SpaceX stacks Starship on Super Heavy Booster 4 for the 2nd time but using Chopsticks in this attempt


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 recorded the entire process using their robot cameras installed at Starbase Boca Chica, Texas (video below).

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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.

Video: Mechazilla Chopsticks holding Starship SN20 in mid-air for full stacking on the Super Heavy Booster 4 rocket prototype (10th Feb 2022).

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.

SpaceX chopsticks lifting Starship above the Super Heavy Booster 4 for full stacking. Credit: Elon Musk / Twitter.
Fully stacked Starship 20 on the launch pad at Starbase Boca Chica, Texas as of Feb 10, 2022. The black side of atmospheric heat shield tiles is visible on the 2nd stage Starship Credit: Elon Musk / Twitter.

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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Video: Coverage of the entire Starship 20 lift and stacking on Super Heavy Booster 4 at SpaceX Starbase.



By Iqtidar Ali

Iqtidar has been writing about Tesla, Elon Musk, and EVs for more than 3 years on, many of his articles have been republished on CleanTechnica and InsideEVs, maintains a healthy relationship with the Tesla community across the Social Media sphere. You can reach him on Twitter @IqtidarAlii