Top of the new big Starship rocketSpaceX, a private aerospace company installed near the village of Boca Chica (South Texas, USA), was severely damaged by a fall caused by a very strong wind. In the photos published by different users on Twitter it is clear that the upper part of the future apparatus lies on its side and is rather crumpled. Ilon Mask said that he was aware of this incident. In addition, the head of SpaceX added that the restoration work may take several weeks.
Build a test prototype of a new rocketStarship, formerly known as BFR, began just before the New Year holidays. Recall that in the future, SpaceX plans to use a new super-heavy class rocket to deliver people and cargo not only to near-Earth orbit, but also to the Moon and Mars, and possibly beyond them. A full-fledged launch vehicle will consist of two main components - a huge Super Heavy accelerator and a no less large spacecraft (in fact, Starship itself).
The prototype starship was assembled pretty quickly next tothe village of Boca Chica, where SpaceX is building a new cosmodrome. January 5, Musk said that SpaceX hopes to conduct the first test launch in the next four weeks. However, later the head of the company said that due to "unforeseen problems," the first launch could be postponed for another four weeks.
Apparently, one of the last such problemsit turned out to be wind, the speed of gusts of which in the area of the location of the rocket as a result of the storm was up to 80 kilometers per hour. As noted portal The Verge, part of the protective mechanisms that hold the rocket from falling, could not stand. The top of the Starship with the fairing fell on its side and was damaged. Later Musk added that the prototype fuel tanks were not affected.
Fallen prototype is not a complete replicafuture appearance of starship. The test copy is shorter than the final version, besides it has only three jet engines, instead of the seven provided for by the final design. As soon as the damage is eliminated and the prototype assembly is completed, the company plans to perform a series of test “jumps”, within which the test version of the rocket is planned to be launched to an altitude of 500 meters to 5 kilometers and then gently land back to the ground. In other words, the company plans to use the same approach that it used with Grasshopper’s “flying mockup”. The latter was the prototype with which SpaceX tested various technologies that eventually became used in the Falcon 9 rocket.
At the very beginning of the construction of the prototype Musksaid many of the design elements of the rocket have changed. If earlier it was said that the giant rocket will be built on the basis of composite materials, then according to current plans, the main part of the rocket will be made of steel alloy. According to Mask, this material is able to withstand ultra-high temperatures while maintaining its strength. In addition, Raptor engines, which are planned to be used in the Starship rocket, have also undergone major modifications, but so far they have not been reported.
In addition, SpaceX has changed the rocket assembly siteStarship. It was originally planned that the rocket will be assembled in the port of Los Angeles, but now part of the production will be transferred to the new SpaceX spaceport in Boca Chica. At the same time, the development and production of some important components of Starship, for example, the same Raptor engines will continue to be carried out at the company's main enterprise in the city of Hawthorne (California, USA). Opt for Texas to build prototypes Starship Musk commented on their size — it’s much easier to assemble them right next to their future launch site.
You can discuss the news in our Telegram-chat.