SpaceX wants to launch its giant Starship spacecraft often in the coming months, as a brand new image shows.
in Share on X This afternoon (February 2), SpaceX shared photos of a “megabay” at its Stabase site in South Texas, a center for spacecraft manufacturing and launch activities.
The building is filled with towering stainless steel cylinders — super-heavy vehicles, the first stage of SpaceX's giant Starship rocket — that rise almost to the surface.
“Very heavy boosters for the next three flights, with a fourth ready to stack, in the Starbase Megabay,” SpaceX wrote in the post.
Related: See stunning photos and videos of Starship's second launch
The spacecraft consists of two components, designed to be fully and rapidly reusable: a very heavy vehicle and a 165-foot (50 m) upper stage spacecraft called the spacecraft.
When fully stacked, the spacecraft is approximately 400 feet (122 meters) tall. It is the largest and most powerful rocket ever built, capable of launching up to 150 tons of payload into low Earth orbit, according to SpaceX spec sheet.
However, the spacecraft has not yet been commissioned; It has been launched only twice so far, in test flights in April and November last year. Both ended with powerful bangs. But Starship has made enough progress on its second liftoff — for example, bypassing a very heavy burn for a full duration and successfully separating its two stages — that success seems a real possibility on flight number three, which may be just around the corner.
Indeed, SpaceX aims to launch the test mission this month, provided it obtains a launch license from the US Federal Aviation Administration in time. (The Federal Aviation Administration is overseeing an investigation into what happened on the November flight.)
SpaceX believes Starship's combination of power and reusability will lead to massive breakthroughs in exploration, allowing humanity to place stakes on the Moon and Mars.
NASA sees promise in the rover: It has selected Starship as the first manned lunar lander for its Artemis program, which aims to establish a permanent human presence on and around Earth's nearest neighbor by the end of the 2020s. Starship will land astronauts on the moon for the first time in 2026, with the Artemis 3 mission, if all goes according to plan.
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