Starship Superheavy orbital launch tower completion, 100th raptor engine built & more Elon tweets this week

This week, SpaceX has added the final section to the orbital Starship launch tower, integrated the orbital launch table, and completed a great deal of work on their first Superheavy booster slated for flight, booster 4.

Superheavy Orbital flight preparations

SpaceX has been moving quickly toward their launch of a Cheese wheel during their first orbital launch attempt of Superheavy. A lot needs to be done for this launch, which they had originally aimed to complete in July. While they have missed July, they now have a new target. By August 5th, SpaceX hopes to have a completed stack with Booster 4 on the orbital launch table with Starship 20 on top.

Superheavy booster construction

We’ve seen a great deal of progress toward launch over the last few days. Booster 4 has quickly been taking form. Elon shared an overhead view of some of the plumbing needed to all the Raptor engines of a Superheavy booster.

With Elon stating the plumbing visible was only the primary fuel lines, there is no doubt a great deal of immensely complex plumbing to go. Booster 4 has been undergoing stacking in the high bay, and recently gained some grid fins. The grid fins seem very similar to a scaled-up Falcon 9 grid fin, with one exception. These grid fins will not be folding. This raised some eyebrows online but avoids the possibility of a failed deployment of the fins.

Orbital Launch tower and table completion

Another crucial element that needs to be in place for the orbital launch is the launch tower and table. In addition to supporting Starship prior to launch, the tower will function to catch the Superheavy booster as it returns for landing.

This week, the final segment of the orbital tower was stacked, and the 370-ton launch table was placed onto the orbital launch mount. These elements are still far from completion, however. The catching mechanism still needs to be installed on the tower and a great deal more plumbing work is needed.

100th Raptor Engine completed

Early last week, SpaceX completed their 100th raptor engine, Raptor Boost 16. The pace of engine production has been increasing, as will be necessary for SpaceX to produce the large fleet of Starship vehicles that will be needed for orbital refueling and an eventual Martian colony.

With Blue Origin’s protest being rejected, we can expect to hear more on SpaceX’s plans for Lunar Starship. With the number of launches that will be needed to support a Lunar Starship mission, this speed is both impressive and important.

In a rather dizzying video, Elon shared a look inside Neuralinks company bar. This fits well with their recent job application for SpaceX as a “Spaceport Mixologist” in Brownsville, TX. If you’re an experienced bartender with a passion for space, this might be the perfect SpaceX job for you.

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