SpaceX is going to start the testing of its next-generation super-heavy rocket very soon, which will carry Starship Spacecraft into space. The testing will start with the test of its first super-heavy rocket booster BN1 prototype.
Elon Musk tweeted a photo showing off its First Super Heavy Booster BN1 prototype on March 18, 2021 (Thursday) from SpaceX’s test site in Boca Chica, Texas.
SpaceX aims to build Super Heavy Rocket and Starship Spacecraft as a fully reusable system. Both the sections will be able to land back on the ground after launch – Super Heavy Rocket will land back on earth shortly after liftoff. While Starship could potentially land on another planet (moon or mars) to completes its mission and then will be able to launch itself off and come back to earth.
Super Heavy Rocket Booster BN1 Prototype
BN1 prototype is the largest rocket booster to date with a height of 67 meters approx. At present NASA’s Mighty Saturn V holds the World Record of the tallest Rocket ever built – It stood 110.6 meters (363 feet) high. But soon Starship Rocket will break this record with a height of 120 meters.
Falcon 9 Rocket vs BN1 Prototype
- Falcon 9 Rocket – 70 m / 229.6 ft
- Super Heavy Rocket Booster (BN1 Prototype) – 67 m appx.
Starship Super Heavy Booster BN1 prototype is just 3 meters shorter than a full-sized Falcon 9 Rocket. Fully assembled Starship Rocket will be the tallest rocket launch vehicle with 120 m in height and 31 raptor engines.
BN1 Rocket Booster does not have landing legs installed. BN1 prototype will undergo ground testing only, paving the way for a BN2 orbital flight later this year. BN3 should be the first one to carry 50-meter Starship Spacecraft to space.
SpaceX is planning to avoid the landing of the BN1 prototype on its legs, rather they are planning to catch it with the use of the Catching Tower of SpaceX (having huge robotic arms). Elon Musk says “We’re going to try to catch the Super Heavy Booster with the launch tower arm, using the grid fins to take the load”.
Also, someone asked will the landing be the same or even better than with legs?. Replying to this Elon Musk said, “Saves mass & cost of legs & enables immediate repositioning of the booster on to launch mount — ready to refly in under an hour”.
BN2 prototype (Super Heavy Rocket Booster Number 2) will move on for launch when the BN1 prototype completes its ground testing. In the meantime, SpaceX will prepare for the BN3 launch preparation. It is expected that SpaceX will carry static fire test of the Rocket Booster prototype as they have done with Falcon 9 first stages.
Starship Spacecraft is being designed to carry cargo and a crew of up to 100 people (to mars probably). SpaceX is currently testing Starship and has lost two prototypes in heavy landing following high-altitude flights. But the third landing attempt was a success on March 3, 2021 (Wednesday). However, the booster got exploded while safely touching down the surface. A fourth high-altitude flight test using the SN11 prototype is expected to take place in the upcoming days soon.
Simulation video created by Space fans:
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