Elon Musk’s SpaceX recently stacked the world’s tallest rocket outside of Boca Chica, Texas, by placing its Starship prototype (SN20) on top of the new Super Heavy booster rocket, measuring nearly 400-foot-tall. This combined rocket even beaks the record of NASA’s Saturn V rocket which was used earlier for sending astronauts to the moon.
NASA’s Saturn V rocket sent Apollo 11 astronauts to the moon in 1969 and was 363 feet tall while the stacked Starship spacecraft and the Super Heavy Booster together are 395 feet tall, and can be imagined as tall as a 36-story building (which is even bigger than the great pyramid of Giza). Starship’s actual prototype is 160 feet tall, built using stainless steel which is basically the earlier version of the rocket that Musk unwrapped in 2019. Whereas the new Super Heavy booster is 230 feet tall.
This was part of preparations for Starship’s first-ever orbital launch. There was no official live telecast of the testing but SpaceX founder Elon Musk shared some amazing images and a video that showed the booster being moved to the company’s orbital launch mount, and of the towering rocket from the launchpad as well. 29 Raptor rocket engines installed by engineers to the base part of the rocket (booster).
Musk also mentioned four “significant items” that SpaceX wants to accomplish in the next two weeks as preparation for the Starship 20 launch. He further pointed out that tiles for Starship 20 are about “98% done” and the rest require machining as of their unique shapes.
SpaceX’s mission is also under close look by NASA specifically the U.S space agency earlier in 2021 gave the company a controversial $2.9 billion contract for sending astronauts to the surface of the moon using rockets.
This mission is the main part of Elon Musk’s vision for sending humans and cargo to the moon and subsequently then to Mars to make humankind a successful “multi-planetary species”.
SpaceX’s fleet of Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets are not much reusable, Musk aims to make the ongoing Starship fully reusable in the future thus such a rocket which is like a commercial airplane having short turnaround times between flights but the only major costlier thing is fuel.
Starship and Super Heavy still requires further tests before it becomes ready to launch. It includes testing of its thermal shielding and other launch equipment and also looking for a US Federal Aviation Administration environmental review of its launch operations with no information yet on when this will happen.