The first of two proposed “launch tower” built to capture Super Heavy booster using massive weapons among a range of new structures.
Drone footage circulated on social media shows SpaceX’s orbital launch facilities in Boca Chica, Texas are progressing well.
The first of two proposed “launch tower” built to capture the space company’s Super Heavy booster – a huge rocket stage intended to drive Starship into orbit – using massive weapons stands out among a range of new structures.
SpaceX Massive Booster-Catching Launch Tower
Elon Musk first announced his unorthodox Starship booster recovery strategy months ago. Three months later, he upped his dedication to the craziness by claiming the same booster-catching tower might also snare Starships out of the air.
At the time, SpaceX had begun construction on one of two proposed towers with weapons as an optional feature. Progress was only demonstrated at the time by a self-propelled drill and a couple of muck-filled holes.
By mid-March, however, SpaceX had cleared away most of the soil, exposing a substantial base of approximately 25 2 ft (1 m) thick piles buried at least 100 ft (30 m) deep in the wet Texan soil. The foundation had been encased in concrete, with a huge base almost ready for more concrete, according to subsequent peeks.
The first SpaceX launch tower in South Texas is slowly taking shape, rising vertically from the ground like a massive castle tower to provide an incomparably strong foundation.
Interesting Engineering added it would allow SpaceX to install Super Heavy boosters atop the launch mount before stacking Starships on top of them. In Boca Chica, the launch tower is less than a mile from the Gulf of Mexico. The city has a heavy wind at sea level, which only gets worse at higher elevations.
Furthermore, the South Texas coast is regularly affected by heavy rain, thunderstorms, hurricanes, and flooding. There aren’t many more challenging positions for erecting huge, solid towers to work as precisely as vertically mating rocket stages.
Super Heavy Booster Tests Could Begin in July 2021
Elon Musk tweeted that SpaceX’s Boca Chica launch tower would have a “hook height” of at least 460 feet (the distance between the crane hook and the ground) (140 m). Once completely equipped to mate the Super Heavy booster to Starship, the tower’s crane’s tip would likely be 490 to 520 ft (150 to 160 m) tall.
Similarly, information on how SpaceX aims to snare incoming Super Heavy boosters from the sky remains hazy.
However, SpaceX’s aggressive emphasis on expanding Boca Chica’s first orbital launch facilities indicates that Elon Musk’s company will install a huge megalithic structure capable of hosting Super Heavy and Starship tests soon.
SpaceX plans to launch Super Heavy and Starship into orbit as soon as July of this year. This may seem premature, but if the company – and its staff – work around the clock on the nascent orbital launch site, it may happen, Starship or not. We shouldn’t ignore SpaceX if it feels like each year is the most exciting one yet an extremely difficult topic to ignore.
Originally published at Science Times