Starship 28 stacked on Booster 10 for the first time in preparation for Flight 3 orbital launch test



Yesterday, Elon Musk’s SpaceX moved the next candidates for Starship Flight 3 to the Orbital Launch Mount (OLM) at Starbase for stacking. Starship 28 (Ship 28) and Super Heavy Booster 10 (B10) were fully stacked/integrated for the first time.

SpaceX has been working on both of these Starship and Super Heavy prototypes long before the Flight 2 test attempt that happened late last year.

Booster 10 and Ship 28 have been going through their independent tests for the last few months. SpaceX conducted a six-engine static fire test on Ship 28 and a 33-engine static fire test on Booster 10 in December.

The official SpaceX account on X (Twitter) posted photos of the Booster 10 and Starship 28 being transported to the Starbase launch site yesterday.

Super Heavy Booster 10 rocket coming out of the Megabay (left), Starship 28 getting transported to the orbital launch site at SpaceX Starbase, Texas (right).
Super Heavy Booster 10 rocket coming out of the Megabay (left), Starship 28 getting transported to the orbital launch site at SpaceX Starbase, Texas (right). Credit: SpaceX / X (Twitter).
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A stunning picture of the fully stacked Starship (Ship 28 + Booster 10) at Starbase, Boca Chica, Texas on 11th Feb 2024.
Another beautiful view of the fully integrated Starship 28 at the SpaceX launch site at Starbase, Texas.

Stacking the 2nd Stage (upper part of the Starship/the spaceship itself) onto the 1st stage rocket booster (Super Heavy) is a test in itself as well. Mounting the Starship on a Super Heavy booster is also called a fully integrated Starship.

Usually, the first time a Starship is fully stacked is done for testing and evaluation to check if both stages of the spaceship integrate well together and if every bolt and joint is in its optimum position.

If we look at the recording of the Starship stacking by NASASpaceFlight, we can witness a slight wobble when the Mechazilla Chopsticks placed Ship 28 onto Booster 10. Stacking the Starship multiple times gives SpaceX engineers the data and experience for a seamless integration at the time of the actual orbital flight attempt.

The next phases of testing after full stacking of the Starship are usually a wet dress rehearsal, cryogenic proof testing, propellant load tests, etc.

Super Heavy Booster 10 getting transported to the Starbase launch site for the 1st time full stacking of the Starship 28 intended for Flight 3 test.
Super Heavy Booster 10 getting transported to the Starbase launch site for the 1st time full stacking of the Starship 28 intended for the Flight 3 test. Credit: SpaceX / X (Twitter).
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Video: Starship 28 getting transported to the SpaceX Starbase launch site for Flight 3 preparations.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk believes that the next orbital flight test of Starship (Flight 3) is likely to reach orbit. In the last two attempts, Starship prototypes experienced rapid unscheduled disassembly (RUD) but still met their primary goals of lifting off and stage separation. These expected outcomes resulted in providing vital data that SpaceX will use to improve future flights.

SpaceX is simultaneously in the process of acquiring the final approval from the FAA for Starship’s Flight 3 orbital launch test. This approval resulted in weeks and months of delays for the Flight 2 test last year.

Video: The fully integrated Starship 28 at Starbase, TX.
Video: 2 hours of live recording of the Starship 28 and Booster 10 stacking at SpaceX Starbase, Texas.
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Standing under Starship’s 33 engines — a video by Elon Musk on X (Twitter). These 33 engines are installed on the Starship Super Heavy Booster 10 rocket (1st stage) which is mounted on the OLM at Starbase, Texas.

Stay tuned for future updates on Starship and SpaceX, Follow us on:
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Iqtidar Ali
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


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