Elon Musk Gives a Tour of SpaceX Starfactory Rocket Site


SpaceX chief Elon Musk has given Everyday Astronaut YouTuber Tim Dodd an extensive tour of the Starfactory in Boca Chica, Texas.

Shot on the day before the fourth test flight of the Starship megarocket earlier this month, the hourlong video takes viewers inside the facility where workers are building the various rocket components and assembling the vehicle itself.

Musk said he envisages the new facility, parts of which are still under construction, making as many as 100 Starship spacecraft a year, with the ultimate goal of building as many as a thousand, though additional production facilities would be needed to reach that goal.

Musk takes viewers to many parts of the Starfactory, including to a room packed with the mighty Raptor engines that power the Super Heavy booster that lifts the Starship spacecraft to orbit.

The SpaceX boss explains how the next-gen Raptor engine will fly without a heat shield. Because it’s exposed, it will require integral cooling circuits throughout all of the engine’s parts, “so it looks very simple on the outside, but it’s complicated on the inside,” Musk said.

He also talked about rocket reusability, which is central to the SpaceX system. His aim is to build a fully reusable rocket where the first stage and second stage can be landed and quickly flown again, much like a large airliner. SpaceX has achieved reuse of the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket by bringing it back to Earth and landing it upright shortly after launch, but returning the second stage from space is another challenge altogether.

For the Starship to be viable, SpaceX needs to be able to land the first-stage Super Heavy booster and also safely land the Starship at its destination — whether it’s the moon or Mars or somewhere beyond — as it will be carrying crew and cargo. It then has to be able to safely bring the Starship home.

SpaceX is investing huge sums in the Starfactory as it seeks to build out its Starship system ahead of crew and cargo flights to the moon. Much testing is still required, however, with the Starship expected to embark on its fifth test flight as early as next month.

Trevor Mogg — Contributing Editor

Source: www.digitaltrends.com

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