SpaceX Starship Super Heavy Booster 4 Lifted to Orbital Launch Mount

Elon Musk announced he will be presenting a Starship status report on Thursday and said he expected to show a complete Starship stacked at that time. Earlier today, Super Heavy booster 4 was lifted by the giant crane (not Mechazilla) and installed on the Orbital Launch Mount. We can probably expect to see Starship 20 installed atop the booster in the next few days.

There has been speculation that the next step for Starship is lifting and stacking tests using Mechazilla and the chopstick arms, so this may be the set-up for those tests. Whether that is the plan or this is just a “JULY 4 1966 DEMO ONLY”* photo op remains to be seen.

* The Univac mainframe operating system I worked on in the 1960s and '70s contained, as of the last time I saw its source code around 1976, numerous lines of code in the low-level parts of the system still bearing this comment.


Random thought – I wonder what is the maximum wind speed SpacEx can tolerate while swinging that huge booster around? Precise placement of something with that kind of large “sail area” might be difficult in anything above a very gentle breeze.

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This is apparently a serious constraint when lifting a ship with the crane from the hard points at the top. When moving a stage with Mechazilla, it is supported by the two hard points below the grid fins and by a third about halfway down the stage which is engaged by a separate arm that extends from the slider carrying the “chopsticks” that grab the top. This is supposed to provide a three point grip on the stage sufficient to avoid it swaying due to wind. Testing this is presumably one of the items on the agenda when they begin trying moving and stacking tests with Mechazilla.

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