SpaceX Showing how to Make The Impossible Happen With Starship In Record Time!
This episode is sponsored by Skillshare. SpaceX doing the first ever full cryo test of a Super Heavy Starship booster! Starship components possibly heading to Kennedy Space Center! Starbase 2 at Roberts Road expanding rapidly and more! Let’s find out why! My name is Felix, and I am your host for today’s episode of What about it!? And today we’ll look at new footage of Starbase 2, Rocket Lab getting ready to catch a booster out of midair and Amazon giving out the biggest Launch contract in spaceflight history so let’s dive right in! Starship Updates SpaceX is working hard to get their mega rocket Starship ready for the upcoming orbital test flight. They’re not only working in Boca Chica, though. Today we’ll do an update on both Starbase and their efforts at Kennedy Space Center. Mauricio from RGV Aerial Photography was up in the air again and it’s only one of two flyovers we’ll discuss today, but more on that later. This is Starbase, Texas, of course. SpaceX’s main test facility for Starship development. And Starbase is still waiting for an approval from the FAA. Before this approval is given, SpaceX simply isn’t allowed to launch a Starship prototype to orbit. Even though the FAA is taking its time to hand out the approval, SpaceX is working hard. There are plenty of things to do while they’re waiting for the green light. Like testing the next generation of Super Heavy Booster hardware for example. As said on a few other episodes already, Booster 7 has quite a few changes on the outside and inside. A completely new COPV placement with chines along the sides of the booster to create extra lift and down range capability. An engine section that’s ready for Raptor 2. A new engine layout with 33 engines attached to the aft dome. A new header tank design to give the booster landing burn capabilities. And SpaceX seems to be very confident in the new design. What you’re looking at here, of course, is WAI cam operator Chief’s epic footage of the recent cryogenic test SpaceX performed with booster 7. We’ve seen plenty of cryogenic tests before, so what’s so special about this one you might ask. This. On the left you see the last ever cryogenic test SpaceX performed with booster 4. On the right we have the footage from April 4th and booster 7. And you can easily see the difference. This time SpaceX went all in. Booster 7 got fully filled up with liquid nitrogen. All the way to the top. This is new. In fact, SpaceX has never before filled a super Heavy booster prototype all the way to the top. We’re talking roughly 3400 tons of liquid nitrogen here. And we’re likely talking flight pressure too. What this means is simple. At least the tanks of the current booster design are ready for an orbital flight. This is a huge milestone for SpaceX and the entire Starship program and it shows that SpaceX is close to the orbital launch now. The delayed orbital launch does not pose a problem for SpaceX yet. There are a lot of things to do while waiting for the approval. This for example is the quick disconnect arm located on the Mechazilla launch support tower. And as you can see, it’s losing parts. The whole quick disconnect plate including the fuel lines was removed on April 5th. The whole mechanism is now sitting at the production site waiting for modifications. The reason is simple. Ship 24, which is currently being assembled in the Midbay at the Starbase Production site, has its quick disconnect plate one ring higher than Ship 20. The reasons can only be speculated on, but it could simply be that the new ships have so many components inside the engine section that SpaceX needed to free up some space. Moving the quick disconnect one ring further up also means that all the connections on the inside move up. This would give SpaceX more room to work with. There’s one more pretty interesting development I’d like to show you. This baby here. It’s a booster header tank of the new Super Heavy design and these are the first pictures we get of the entire thing. The left side is where it attaches to the aft dome and the fuel manifold and you can see all the outlets going towards the SpaceX Raptor engines. It’s an incredibly interesting item. It shows SpaceX’s improvements in production quality, and it shows that all the boosters we saw before booster 7 simply weren’t anywhere near being a completed design. It does look like it’s been manufactured at Starbase. Now here’s where it really gets interesting. This is what happened with the header tank just moments after it was sighted. SpaceX workers loaded it onto a flatbed semi-truck and wrapped it for transport. SpaceX is sending it somewhere. There’s only one place I could think of, where SpaceX would need such an item right now. The tank headed out of Brownsville and Chief even followed it for a while. There was a slight hiccup with a fender bender shortly after the truck left Starbase. It’s unknown, where the tank headed, but my guess would be Florida. And this is the second flyover I was talking about in the beginning. TeamSpace is all about helping each other and so it was WAI Media’s turn to sponsor a Greg Scott flight at the Cape and this is the result. Fresh and pretty incredible footage directly from Kennedy Space Center and SpaceX’s efforts of building up Starship infrastructure in Florida once again! Make sure to check out Greg’s Twitter and his Patreon page to give him as much support as possible! This is priceless stuff! Links are in the description of the video! Roberts Road at Kennedy Space Center. This is, where the booster header tank from earlier might be headed and this is where SpaceX is working on a second Mechazilla and all the infrastructure needed to start building Starships and launching them! Before we continue with Roberts Road, just a short reminder, that all this, of course, needs support. If you like these kinds of updates, consider leaving us a like, subscribe or become a Patron, channel member or proud WAI wear merch owner! All this will help us immensely in return to provide you with even higher quality updates! Thank you so much! This is the site up close. And it is growing rapidly! With a Falcon 9 maintenance and refurbishment facility already mostly done in the background and Starship Infrastructure growing fast the place is only months away from starting its own Starship production at the Cape and right next to its most important partner. NASA. The reasons are obvious. With plans for Artemis 3 and the Lunar Starship evolving more and more as talked about on the last episode, SpaceX and NASA need to be close together to accomplish set goals. The NASA VAB in the foreground and Pad 39A with the Axiom 1 Crew Dragon in the background. Up close a first Mechazilla segment can even be spotted at Pad 39A. SpaceX is working hard to be ready for test and maybe even flight activity at the Cape and this year. Back at Roberts Road Mechazilla number 2 is taking shape rapidly. Two more segments are done and a third is actively being worked on. Visually these segments look identical to what we can see on the Starbase Mechazilla. I wouldn’t be surprised, though, if this one is taller due to the proposed Fuel depot Starship being longer than a standard Starship. Besides extensive grading and terrain work on site and right next to the Falcon 9 facility, first foundations can be seen for the Starship buildings. In this animation done by Alex Rex the true scale of the construction plans can be seen. The reason for the facility being smaller than Starbase might just be that Prototyping could continue in Texas, while flight ready hardware might be built here. Once WAI has relocated to the Cape at the end of this month, I’ll definitely try my best to give you a regular up and as close as possible view of the progress. Keep in mind, though, that we do not want to annoy SpaceX but instead talk about their progress. So, we’ll be polite. What do you think? Will SpaceX launch Starships out of Kennedy Space Center this year? As always, tell me in the comments! Of course, these are not the only things that happened in the Spaceflight industry. In fact, so much has happened in three days again that I have to pick my topics. So, what do we talk about next? The first commercial Space station passing its first review? Rocket Lab announcing their first electron booster catch? Amazon dishing out the biggest launch contract in spaceflight history? You see the problem? That’s only three days in modern spaceflight. Ah, whatever. Let’s try to talk about all of them, shall we? Blue Origin announced that their Orbital Reef Space Station has passed the first Systems requirements review! Slated to start operation in 2030, Orbital reef will be a huge milestone once finished. It’s the first ever entirely commercial space station in low Earth orbit in human history. After all it’s the commercial world in which advanced capabilities get normalized and become a part of everyday life. Think of Orbital Reef as a village in Space. Many different organizations work together to accomplish the goal just like on the International Space Station, with the exception that this time there’s no government involved in building or operating it. Big windows that dwarf the ISS cupola will make views of Earth possible like nothing else before. Docking capability for Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser and other crew vehicles. It’s basically a dream come true for anyone interested in commercial space flight. This first systems requirements review is a first milestone baselining requirements for the program. Basically, now Sierra Space, Blue Origin, Boeing Space, Redwire Space Genesis ESI and ASU know what they need to build, slowly taking the project into the actual construction phase. Next up we have Rocket Lab taking their Electron rocket to the next level! First of all, Electron launched again! Without mission a beat! I love their launch titles! Successfully launched on April 2nd, it might be the last Electron launch of the expendable era! As so often with Rocket Lab, the launch went perfectly. The people at Black Sky must be very happy! Perfect payload deployment after using the electron Kick stage! Well done, team Rocket Lab! But here comes the really important part of today’s Rocket Lab news. Remember this? Of course I covered it on my channel, but there’s a good chance you haven’t seen this on WAI. Back then the channel had around 10000 subscribers. 2019 was the year whjen Rocket Lab announced that Electron would go reusable in the future. Almost three years forward and several tests in preparation including Electron booster splashdowns in 2020, Rocket Lab is finally ready to announce the big Milestone! On April 6th, Rocket Lab announced that the next mission will feature the first ever catch attempt of an Electron booster after it was launched to space. First pictures of the Helicopter to attempt the catch have been released by Rocket Lab as well and everything seems to be ready for the big day. Mark it in your calendars! April 19th is the day! Launch complex 1 Pad A in New Zealand the location. The Electron rocket will launch, deploy a payment and then reenter engines first. After slowing down through atmospheric drag the booster will deploy a parachute and then the recovery helicopter will swoop in and attempt the first ever mid-air recovery of a flown rocket booster. It’s a very clever way of recovering a rocket if it works. It’s unclear, if Rocket Lab will try to refly this first recovered booster right away or if it will be dissected bit by bit to learn about what the whole reentry and catch did to the booster. No matter what, this is epic news! Go team Rocket Lab! Fingers crossed! On we go with Amazon and the largest launch contract in spaceflight history! Project Kuiper, if you haven’t heard of it yet, is Amazon’s answer to Starlink. It’s basically supposed to do exactly the same thing as SpaceX’s mega constellation and so it’s in direct competition. Supposed to operate at between 590 and 630 kilometers above the planet, it will even occupy the same orbit as Starlink. Kuiper will also work together with traditional cellular network providers. Even towers will be able to link with Kuiper and establish a cellphone network on the ground through a direct satellite link. Now, Amazon has announced the biggest launch contract in spaceflight history. 83 launches over the next decade to get 3236 satellites into orbit. Contracted for launches are Europe’s Ariane 6 with 18 launches, Blue Origins New Glenn with 12 launches with options on another 15 launches and 38 launches for ULA’s new Vulcan rocket. Just in comparison, ULA for example did a total of 5 launches in 2021 and 6 in 2020. There are two fun aspects about all this. One, SpaceX, the direct competitor didn’t get a single launch and two, all of the above-mentioned rockets are not operational yet. Still, this will give a huge boost to the spaceflight industry with books full of launches for Amazon! And here we are again with my personal list of classes to take if you want to become a successful creator. Today we have Dandan Liu, Filmmaker and Documentary producer. Ever wondered, how you could do your own documentary or travel vlog in a professional way? Skillshare is an online learning community with thousands of inspiring classes for creators. Explore new skills, deepen existing passions, and get lost in creativity. The class by Liu covers the whole documentary making lifecycle, covering how to plan, how to shoot, and how to edit. Part travelogue, part course, all of these lessons are designed to be applicable and get straight-to-the-point. In some ways creating a documentary is not far from what we do here at WAI. Interviews for example need to be structured. Skillshare classes combine video lessons, class projects and hands-on feedback, with short lessons to fit any schedule, on topics including illustration, design, photography, video, freelancing, and more. Liu pretty much covers everything for Skillshare. From finding a topic through editing, setting up a shot, finding the right B-Roll, cutting Music. The list goes on and if you’d like to make your own documentary and you don’t know that B-Roll is not worse than A-Roll, maybe take a look at her class! She knows, what she’s talking about! Learn how to channel your own creativity in the best way possible. The first 1000 of my subscribers to click the link in the description will get a 1-month free trial of Skillshare so you can start exploring your creativity today! Today’s team shout-out goes to Jonathan and Indigo for doing absolutely incredible work at WAI Plus. Keeping a YouTube Channel up and running isn’t an easy task. I know, what I am talking about. By spending their free time editing and sifting through countless pictures and videos coming in from WAI cam operator Chief and others, they’re making sure that you’re up to date on all things Starship almost every day. If you want to show them that you appreciate it as much as I do, make sure to subscribe to WAI Plus. It gives them more reach and shows the YouTube algorithm, that you want more! Thank you so much for all the help, guys! You Rock so much!