SpaceX has successfully stacked its’ ‘Super Heavy’ booster, the largest rocket booster ever built.
The booster marks a milestone in SpaceX’s long journey to creating its Mars-bound Starship off the ground.
The booster is part of the SpaceX Starship System. The system is made from a booster stage, named Super Heavy, and a second stage also referred to as “Starship”. The second stage is being designed as a long-duration cargo, and eventually, passenger-carrying spacecraft and spacecraft will serve as both the second stage and the in-space long-duration orbital spaceship.
First Super Heavy Booster pic.twitter.com/0K5QPsEbbt
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 18, 2021
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk revealed the company’s massive 230-foot Super Heavy booster in a Tweet this week. The prototype rocket has been dubbed Booster 1 and is designed to act as “a production pathfinder” to allow SpaceX to figure out how to best build and transport the 70-meter-tall stage.
That means Booster 1 is not intended to ever fly, leaving that honour, presumably, to Booster 2.
Like other SpaceX rockets, the huge heavy boosters have been designed to return back to Earth for vertical landing after liftoff.
The booster stage Super Heavy comes in at around 72 meters long and 9 meters in diameter. The rocket weighs in with a stagging gross liftoff mass of 3,680t.
— Mary (@BocaChicaGal) March 18, 2021
If the booster is used to transport crew and cargo to Mars, the thinner Martian atmospheres and reduced gravity means it will be much easier for the rocket to take off again.
SuperHeavy (BN1) is in the air and is being prepped for stacking!🏗🚀 pic.twitter.com/Emjt7NA4pq
— Austin Barnard🚀 (@austinbarnard45) March 18, 2021
The reveal marks a key moment for SpaceX and its ambitious timeline to explore Mars. An orbital test flight is set for later this year, but rumours suggest that SpaceX is gearing up to launch its’ Starship SN20 ( a third iteration of the Super Heavy booster ) as soon as this summer.