Late Wednesday night SpaceX raised Starship 20 on top of Super Heavy booster 4 for the second time. This time the company used the new lifting/catching mechanism installed on Starship’s launch tower.
First time stacking with Starship’s ‘chopsticks’ tower arms
Over a year ago, Elon Musk announced, rather casually, that SpaceX will catch Starship’s Super Heavy booster with arms attached to the launch tower. Known as the “chopsticks,” this catching system is also doubling as an essential part of ground support equipment with lifting Starship on top of Super Heavy.
The rocket’s assembly started earlier this week with SpaceX’s large LR11000 crane. However, this crane is too small to lift a Starship all the way to the top of Booster 4, so that’s where the “chopsticks” come in.
Lifting preparations began Wednesday morning when Starship 20 was moved in between the “chopsticks” arms. It took about 12 hours before SpaceX began hoisting the rocket stage up and on top of Booster 4, finishing around 11 p.m. local.
Super Heavy booster 4 with Starship 20 stacked on top of it. Credit: Seth Kurkowski / Space Explored
This was the first time SpaceX used this piece of equipment for rocket assembly. And it’s a good thing it worked, as the company doesn’t have another crane tall enough to do this sort of job.
This second-ever rocket assembly forms the world’s most powerful rocket and will be used as the backdrop for Thursday night’s update from Elon Musk.