The nose of Starship Ship 20 when it was briefly stacked atop a Super Heavy booster earlier in August. Credit: SpaceX
SpaceX’s Starship prototype Ship 20 underwent cryogenic proof testing, one of many tests and steps needed before the company can fly its first orbital Starship mission.
Late in the evening Sept. 29, 2021, at SpaceX’s Starbase in Boca Chica, Texas, Ship 20 was loaded with super-cold liquid nitrogen in order to simulate the pressures and temperatures of its liquid oxygen and liquid methane propellants.
“Proof was good!” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted shortly after the conclusion of the test.
Detanking of the 165-foot-tall (50-meter-tall) Ship 20 took place just before midnight.
Overall, SpaceX’s interplanetary rocket and its ground support equipment are continuing to take shape at the company’s build and launch site in Boca Chica, Texas.
Those familiar with the company’s plans to recover the giant Starship boosters after launch might recognize the grabber arms, known as “chopsticks” on top of the orbital launch tower.
Affectionately known as “Mechazilla,” this mechanism aims to literally catch the booster as it makes its way back to the launch site shortly after liftoff in order to be recovered, processed, and then flown ...