SpaceX has accelerated activities at Starbase, Texas as it prepares for the next phase of Starship tests before its 2nd launch attempt.
The Orbital Launch Mount (OLM) repairs and upgrades were completed last week. The OLM endured heavy damage during Starship’s first launch (attempt in April (4/20).
Since the OLM is now completely fixed, SpaceX transported the Super Heavy Booster 9 rocket to the launch pad on Thursday. Booster 9 was lifted onto the OLM on Thursday night (20th July).
SpaceX shared some stunning images of the Booster 9 as it was transported to the orbital launch site at Starbase, Boca Chica, Texas. Super Heavy rocket boosters are engineering megastructures, they look majestic in aerial drone photos.
“Starship Super Heavy Booster 9 transported to the orbital launch pad at Starbase for testing ahead of flight,” SpaceX stated in an official tweet.
SpaceX has renewed the OLM water deluge system to support Starship engine thrust and flames during liftoff. Since the improved system is back in place, SpaceX will soon perform necessary tests on Booster 9. Static fire tests are the most interesting ones in preparation for the orbital flight.
SpaceX completed a 6-engine static fire test on Starship 25 last month. Now it’s the turn for Booster 9 to go through the necessary tests. SpaceX has developed Starship 25 (SN25) and Booster 9 (B9) for the 2nd orbital flight test.
Starfactory Expansion and Starship Development Update
SpaceX is expanding the Starship production site also called the Starfactory by the space community. SpaceX started construction of the extended part of Starfactory last week. In a video update by NASASpaceFlight.com, we can see that the steel structure has been raised and SpaceX is installing the roof structure of the Starship production facility.
Besides the expansion of the Starfactory, SpaceX also worked on Starship prototypes i.e. Starship 27 and 28. SpaceX cut Ship 27 in half to begin its scraping while Ship 28 was erected in the High Bay.
“Ship 27 was cut in half as scrapping of it began, and Ship 28 was lifted in the High Bay and placed on the thrust simulator stand in preparation for a move to Masseys,” NASASpaceFlight reported from the ground at Starbase.
SpaceX also performed a deluge system test on the rebuilt OLM (video below). This is an upgraded deluge system designed to mitigate the impact of the integrated Starship launch. The first Starship orbital flight test left significant damage to the OLM foundation concrete and to the deluge system.
- Starship, OLM, and Mechazilla get thousands of upgrades in preparation for the 2nd orbital flight test, FAA holds approval, Starbase updates
- Starbase update: SpaceX conducts 2nd static fire test on Booster 9, Starship factory expands, Mid Bay demolished, more
- Starship Booster 9 static fire served as a test bed for the new OLM water deluge system
- 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