Elon Musk’s upcoming Starship presentation to mark 12 months of rapid progress – NASASpaceflight.com

Elon Musk’s upcoming Starship presentation to mark 12 months of rapid progress – NASASpaceflight.com

Elon Musk
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is set to provide a highly anticipated update on the company’s Starship program on September 28th from Boca Chica, Texas. The presentation is expected to take place in front of the first nearly completed Starship prototype – capping off 12 months of rapid progress which has seen the program transition from fancy renders to reality.
Over the past few years, Musk has been conducting annual presentations on the status of SpaceX’s next-generation vehicles designed to colonize the Moon and Mars.See AlsoWhile the names of the vehicles have changed numerous times over the years, the spacecraft is currently called Starship with its first stage booster called Super Heavy.The system is designed to be fully reusable – with both Super Heavy and Starship capable of landing propulsively.During last year’s presentation, Musk announced that Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa had purchased a flight to send Maezawa and several artists around the Moon. While the news caught the attention of many, the launch vehicle was still in the very early phases of development.A prototype carbon fiber tank barrel and a few sub-scale Raptor engines were all that SpaceX had to show for physical hardware.That’s the first BFR airframe/tank barrel section made ....

The cancellation was made after a radical change of plans which saw the Starship and Super Heavy designs pivot from carbon fiber to steel.The switch was made to reduce the technical complexity of the project and removed the need for a factory with advanced machinery. Consequently, SpaceX is now assembling the vehicles near their launch site, as transporting a nine-meter diameter rocket for thousands of miles is less than ideal.The move away from carbon fiber quickly paid dividends.
Steel is an easier material to work with, and thus within weeks the first prototype vehicle was being assembled in Boca Chica.The flurry of activity was a dramatic change for the local community. For years, the Boca Chica facility had sat idle as plans to launch SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets from the site never materialized.However, in the final weeks of 2018, a nine-meter diameter steel structure began to rise in South Texas. It was the beginnings of Starhopper, a Starship test-bed designed to perform small hops using a full-scale Raptor engine.Starhopper under construction in Boca Chica, Texas in late 2018 via Nomadd for NSF L2By March of 2019, the vehicle was ready for action. Over the course of the following ....

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