The sixth installment in the Space In Miniature (SIM) digital-only “Tech Reports” series of reference booklets for spacecraft modelers is now available. This publication is a detailed review of the Atlantis re-issue of the old Monogram “U.S. Space Missiles” kit.
The initial version of this 1/128th scale kit came out in 1958 as the “United States Missile Arsenal” and Monogram updated it with a different mix of 36 missile subjects in 1969. The 1969 release, the 1983 version, and the recent Atlantis edition all use the same molds, with slightly different instructions. With the Atlantis Models release in 2022 making it readily available again, it seemed like a SIM Tech Report treatment would be popular.
The SIM Tech Report is based on a two-part kit review originally published in 1984 in Plastic Novelty Items, a publication of the Chicago Sprue Stretchers IPMS chapter. They included descriptions of most of the 36 missiles and was heavily illustrated with detailed drawings. The review covered the 1983 “Heritage Edition,” with text by Joe Suszynski and drawings by Jim Griffiths. After Joe passed away some years ago, I contacted Jim and made arrangements to use their work at some future time. That time has come. The SIM version adds photos of all the missiles and up-to-date drawings by model rocketry guru Peter Alway. Brian Nicklas, of the National Air and Space Museum and author of his own book on US missiles, also made contributions to this book.
designed and built an SRAD [student researched and designed] hybrid rocket which launched to a verified 45,482′ AGL (49,523′ MSL). This came within 1% of the 50,000′ ceiling at WSMR [White Sands Missile Range].
All information was validated by the U.S. Army at the White Sands Missile Range a few weeks later, “Brazoswood High School set a new world record for altitude achieved by a student-built, hybrid-motor propelled rocket reaching 45,482 feet above ground level, beating Fredericksburg High School’s record of 36,100 feet and earning the the SystemsGo Kepler Award.”
that this rocket, from research, design, and fabrication, was all completed in just one school year, with just one chance at launch, and that the students themselves learned the machining, composites, and other fabrication required to build the vehicle.
Check out the project website, which includes details of the rocket’s design and construction and also a summary of the flight, which took place on June 26, 2022.
Here are videos of the flight and student activities before and after the launch.
Virgin Orbit to Launch First Welsh Satellite From UK Spaceport Summer 2022
Cardiff-based Space Forge secure slot on first launch from UK soil with Virgin Orbit
Space Forge have developed a fully returnable and reusable satellite platform to enable in-space manufacturing
This mission, launched from Spaceport Cornwall this summer, will test new return capability
LONG BEACH, Calif. & CARDIFF, Wales–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Leading launch company Virgin Orbit (Nasdaq: VORB) and European in-space manufacturing tech start-up Space Forge announce today an agreement to launch the first satellite developed in Wales in summer 2022.
In a historic moment for UK space, the satellite will be launched as part of a broader joint UK-US mission to open the country’s first domestic space port in summer 2022 out of Spaceport Cornwall in Newquay, Cornwall.
With shared values of democratising space and pioneering responsive and responsible launch technologies, the synergy between Virgin Orbit and Cardiff-based Space Forge’s ethos makes this the ideal marriage for initial launch from the UK. This, coupled with Spaceport Cornwall’s ambitions to become a world leader in responsible launch will offer a real-world example of a global shift in environmental space practice – from sustainable on the ground operations, to horizontal lower impact launch technologies, to in-orbit services minimising the environmental impacts of manufacturing.
Space Forge is on a mission to make space work for humanity – seeking to harness the power of microgravity, offering an on demand service to advance the expansion of the market for premium research and development applications.
Space Forge recently announced that, along with partners, it is developing a world-first service incorporating both launch and return of a new small class of vehicle – the ForgeStar – that can be deployed from conventional launchers to provide rapid, reliable and reusable in-space infrastructure. This inaugural mission will see Space Forge’s ForgeStar-0 platform launched for the first time and will test future return from space technology.
Aiming to unlock the next steps on the path to market expansion, dedicated in-space manufacturing, coupled with proof of reliable return, will allow Space Forge to leverage the benefits of the space environment, namely: microgravity, vacuum, and temperature, to create products impossible to manufacture on Earth.
Their focus is on producing materials and products which offer game-changing levels of performance and efficiency in power hungry infrastructure and systems – reducing the environmental impact of production on earth to unlock new value and innovation. Research suggests that manufacturing certain materials in space could reduce CO2 emissions by 75% – the equivalent to removing all petrol cars from the UK.
“We at Virgin Orbit are delighted to have been chosen to move Space Forge forward in their space journey as we look forward to our inaugural Cornwall launch. Space Forge is joining the growing community of space innovators advancing space technologies for the betterment of our world,” said Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart. “Their commitment to sustainability builds a foundation for future growth in the industry that we at Virgin Orbit are proud to be part of.”
Joshua Western, CEO, Space Forge:
“We’re thrilled to be making UK history with our first launch. We will demonstrate the use of space for good through in-space manufacturing and reliable return and it’s brilliant that both Virgin Orbit and Spaceport Cornwall share our ambitions. This is the start of a great collaboration and we are so excited to see where it goes.”
Melissa Thorpe, Head of Spaceport Cornwall:
“Launch from Cornwall is the chance to set the bar for the global space industry. Leading with companies like Space Forge, who are innovating in the responsible use of space, is key to this next iteration of space exploration.
It’s amazing to see our partners Virgin Orbit select customers who share our ambitions in this area and we can’t wait to show the world how this can be done.”
Dr Paul Bate, CEO of the UK Space Agency:
“The UK is set to become the first nation in Europe to offer small satellite launch, as we become one of the most attractive space economies in the world.
“Space Forge is an innovative, fast-growing company and their agreement with Virgin Orbit demonstrates how all regions of the UK are playing a key role in our ambition to create a thriving small satellite launch market. In-space manufacturing harnesses the benefits of the space environment to create materials far superior to those we can produce on Earth, which can be used to speed up electric car charging or improve the lifetime of aircraft engines.
“This is a huge moment for Space Forge to be part of the first satellite launch from the UK and I wish them all the best, along with Spaceport Cornwall and Virgin Orbit.”
About Space Forge: Space Forge Ltd is a UK start-up on a mission to lead the clean industrial revolution by harnessing space. The company is developing fully returnable satellites that are designed for manufacturing next generation super materials in-space. In creating a reliable return, Space Forge will advance the expansion of the microgravity market for premium research and development applications by lowering the barriers to entry. The company is focused on R&D initiatives where dedicated return from the space environment can add a significant benefit, or overcome obstacles found terrestrially, to unlock new value and innovation.
About Virgin Orbit: Virgin Orbit (Nasdaq: VORB) operates one of the most flexible and responsive space launch systems ever built. Founded by Sir Richard Branson in 2017, the company began commercial service in 2021, and has already delivered commercial, civil, national security, and international satellites into orbit. Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rockets are designed and manufactured in Long Beach, California, and are air-launched from a modified 747- 400 carrier aircraft that allows Virgin Orbit to operate from locations all over the world in order to best serve each customer’s needs. Learn more at www.virginorbit.com and visit us on LinkedIn, on Twitter @virginorbit, and on Instagram @virgin.orbit.
About Spaceport Cornwall: Spaceport Cornwall is the horizontal space launch site at Cornwall Airport Newquay, in South West England. Spaceport Cornwall is a partnership between Cornwall Council, commercial launch operator Virgin Orbit and Goonhilly Earth Station. The consortium will deliver small satellite launch into lower Earth Orbit, for the first time ever from the UK by 2022. The project is funded by the UK Space Agency, Cornwall Council, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership and Virgin Orbit. For video and media content:www.spaceportcornwall.com/media
ASCEND Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada, Nov. 17, 2021 – Astroscale Holdings Inc. (“Astroscale”), the market leader in satellite servicing and long-term orbital sustainability across all orbits, today announced it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with Virgin Orbit, the responsive launch and space solutions company that has announced a planned business combination with NextGen Acquisition Corp. II (“NextGen”) (NASDAQ: NGCA). The MOU establishes a new partnership in which the two companies will seek opportunities to cooperate on a series of space initiatives that will drive the future of space sustainability and on-orbit servicing ecosystem. Astroscale is planning dozens of missions over the next decade and is in discussions with Virgin Orbit to launch as many as 10 of those on Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne. The two companies are also working toward a future joint mission concept focused on satellite servicing.
Astroscale and Virgin Orbit share a vision of creating a sustainable space environment and will explore areas of cooperation on policy and regulatory efforts in the fields of space sustainability, space debris removal, government partnerships, launch and on-orbit servicing spectrum allocation. The MOU also includes a partnership to study the business potential of a joint Global Responsive Satellite Servicing capability, pre-encapsulating Astroscale payloads and storing them at LauncherOne spaceports, as well as promoting U.S.-Japan and U.S.-UK bilateral cooperation with a responsive launch capability from Virgin Orbit’s launch sites in Oita, Japan, and Spaceport Cornwall, UK. The two companies are also discussing a future mission concept wherein Astroscale would utilize its robotic arms payload and/or docking plate on the LauncherOne system.
“The space industry is on the cusp of a new era, with flexible and responsive launch and satellite servicing an emerging reality,” said Nobu Okada, Founder & CEO of Astroscale. “This partnership with Virgin Orbit will bring value to these rapidly developing sectors, not just for technology development, but for business and regulatory innovations as well. Virgin Orbit is a like-minded company that is revolutionizing the way we launch and access space while maintaining a commitment to space sustainability.”
[Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart said, ]
“We at Virgin Orbit are excited to partner with Astroscale to foster the development and promotion of the responsible, sustainable use of space,” […] “Our LauncherOne System already has key features that minimize the impact of space launch on Earth. We’re committed to finding ways to protect the space and Earth environments, and we’re highly motivated to drive forward technologies that will enable orbital debris clean-up.”
In addition to pursuing joint activities, Virgin Orbit recently joined The Consortium for Execution of Rendezvous and Servicing Operations (CONFERS), an international industry group representing the on-orbit servicing ecosystem. Astroscale is already an active member of CONFERS, which is advancing the on-orbit servicing industry by leveraging best practices from government and industry to research, develop, and publish technical and operational standards for OOS and Rendezvous and Proximity Operations.
About Astroscale: Astroscale is the first private company with a vision to secure the safe and sustainable development of space for the benefit of future generations, and the only company dedicated to on-orbit servicing across all orbits.
Founded in 2013, Astroscale is developing innovative and scalable solutions across the spectrum of on-orbit servicing, including life extension, in situ space situational awareness, end-of-life, and active debris removal, to create sustainable space systems and mitigate the growing and hazardous buildup of debris in space. Astroscale is also defining business cases and working with government and commercial stakeholders to develop norms, regulations, and incentives for the responsible use of space.
Headquartered in Japan, Astroscale has an international presence with subsidiaries in the United Kingdom, the United States, Israel, and Singapore. Astroscale is a rapidly expanding venture company, working to advance safe and sustainable growth in space and solve a growing environmental concern.
About Virgin Orbit: Virgin Orbit builds and operates the most flexible and responsive satellite launcher ever invented: LauncherOne, a dedicated launch service for commercial and government-built small satellites. LauncherOne rockets are designed and manufactured in Long Beach, California, and are air-launched from our modified 747-400 carrier aircraft — allowing us to operate from locations all over the world in order to best serve each customer’s needs. To learn more or to apply to join Virgin Orbit’s talented and growing team, visit virginorbit.com.
About NextGen: NextGen Acquisition Corp. II is a blank check company whose business purpose is to effect a merger, share exchange, asset acquisition, share purchase, reorganization or similar business combination with one or more businesses. NextGen is led by George Mattson, a former Partner at Goldman, Sachs & Co., and Gregory Summe, former Chairman and CEO of Perkin Elmer and Vice Chairman of the Carlyle Group. NextGen is listed on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “NGCA.” For more information, please visit www.nextgenacq.com.
Part 2: Light orbital lift development, suborbital, space transport articles, news, videos, etc.
Part 3: SpaceX Falcon 9, Dragon, and Starship
Falcon 9 and Dragon
The SpaceX Falcon 9 launch rate slowed considerably this past summer. There were 20 missions flown from January through June but none in July and just three from August till the middle of October. There were several factors leading to the slowdown, the primary one being the completion by June of the initial phase of the Starlink constellation buildup. (See links at bottom here for latest info on the Starlink project). Thirteen of those 20 missions each sent 50+ Starlink satellites into low earth orbit. Those Starlinks went into +/- 55 degree inclination orbits where they can provide Internet services to people living in the mid-latitudes.
The next phase of the Starlink project requires launching satellites to polar orbits to enable full global coverage. It appears most of these polar missions will be launched from Vandenberg AFB in California. The first polar orbital launch lifted off on September 14th (see below). These second-phase satellites carry laser communications systems that enable in-space intra-constellation links, greatly reducing the latency of packets transmitted between far distant points on the globe. Completing development of the laser system and ramping up its production took extra time, which also contributed to the delay in launches.
The F9 launch rate is now picking up again with ten missions scheduled for the remaining months of 2021. A NASA crew of 4 is set to head for the ISS this Sunday, Oct.31.2021.
Falcon 9 and Dragon rolling out of the hangar at Launch Complex 39A ahead of launching astronauts this weekend pic.twitter.com/ugTMUYQIJ5
Here are items about the three F9 missions for August and September:
** Sept.16: Inspiration4 mission success. The first all-civilian spaceflight mission successfully sent four non-professional astronauts into orbit for four days and returned them safely to Earth. It was very successful at public outreach as well. The mission gained widespread media attention, most of which seemed quite positive. A five episode special series on Netflix presented captivating profiles of the space travelers and followed their activities during training, the launch, in-orbit and through the return to a splashdown and recovery at sea. Funded by Jared Isaacman, the project surpassed his goal of raising $200M for St. Judes Children’s hospital. (Helped by a $50M contribution of Elon Musk and by Issacman’s own $100M.)
*** Sept.14: Falcon 9 launches first Starlink mission from Vandenberg. The first stage booster successfully landed after its 10th flight. The 51 satellites deployed by the upper stage will go into orbits at 70 degree inclination with respect to the equator. Over 1700 satellites of the initial Starlink shell were launched from Cape Canaveral into 53 degree inclinations that allow Internet service to a band of the earth between +/- 55 degrees latitude. This West Coast launch began the filling of a second shell that will provide coverage to the polar regions. These are the first Starlink satellites to carry laser systems for in-space communications. This will allow the sats to connect directly with each other. Ground stations are few and far between in the polar regions so a laser network will provide for in-space data transfers to whichever satellite is currently above a ground station. Eventually lower latitude shells will also be replaced with sats equipped with laser-comm systems since in-space comm is faster than transversing optical fibers and multiple routers to reach a particular destination.
** Aug.29: SpaceX Falcon 9 launches Cargo Dragon to the ISS with nearly 2180 kg of supplies, equipment, and research materials. The rocket lifted off at 3:14 am EDT from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The booster B1061, on its fifth flight, landed successfully on the new ocean platform named, Shortfall of Gravitas. The spacecraft docked to the station on the morning of Aug.30th.
** Third SpaceX Commercial Crew Mission set for end of October. Crew 3 includes NASA astronauts Thomas Marshburn, Kayla Barron and Raja Chari and German ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer. This mission will actually be the fifth Crew Dragon flight with people on board when one includes the CCP demonstration mission plus the Inspiration 4 civilian flight discussed above.
Though there were no Starship test flights since the previous roundup at the end of July, a tremendous amount of activity has taken place at the Boca Chica production and launch facility in preparation for future Starship missions. These activities can be divided among the following sites and hardware systems:
Orbital Launch Site (OLS):
The OLS includes a launch integration tower (note that a second one is planned as well), a launch mount, and a vast ground infrastructure that includes huge upright cryogenic fluid tanks, a maze of piping, multiple fluid handling and cooling systems, electrical power distribution systems, etc. Substantial progress has been made in all of these areas.
Orbital Launch Integration Tower (OLIT):
Fitting out of the OLIT has continued night and day since the final segment was set in place by a huge crane in July. The OLIT will not only provide propellants and power to the Starship and Super Heavy booster but it will also stack the former onto the latter for launch and then catch each of the two during landings.
Quick Disconnect arm (QD) was installed at a level near the joint between the Starship and the Booster. It will be used to transfer propellants to and from the vehicle as well as stabilize the combo during high winds.
Mechazilla, as tagged by Elon Musk, was installed this past week onto the OLIT. This mechanism includes long arms and moves up and down on the OLIT. It will lift, raise and stack a booster onto the Launch Mount and then stack a Starship on top of the booster. It also will work with the QD to hold the combo in place. Furthermore, the “Chopsticks” will catch a booster during its landing and then catch a Starship to stack upon the booster.
The Starship/Booster combo will sit atop the Launch Mount until the 29 Raptor engines (33 on a later design) fire and send it into space. The Launch Mount consists of a circular structure atop six tall heavy pillars. The mounting structure provides a number of important duties including the feeding of propellants up till the moment of liftoff when the feed-lines must quickly disconnect, hold-downs to keep the rocket securely upright until liftoff when they must quickly and uniformly let go of the booster, electric power connections, etc. Work on the circular mount structure has been going on continuously from the time it was at the production site to the current position at the launch site, where it is enveloped in metal tubular scaffolding.
Orbital Tank Farm:
The tank farm consists of eight vertical tanks for storing liquid oxygen, liquid methane, and water. The tanks were built by SpaceX in a manner very similar to the booster and Starship from cylinders of stainless steel. Each of the eight tanks has now been encapsulated by an insulating shell, also built by SpaceX.
There are also several other tanks on the OLS for additional fluid handling and storage.
Thermal protection tiles:
Black ceramic tiles for thermal protection during reentry from orbit were installed on the “belly” side of Starship 20 while it was in the High Bay but many were marked with tape to indicate that they needed adjustment, replacement, and/or testing. After the vehicle was moved to a mount at the launch site, these problem tiles were dealt with by workers lifted via mobile elevated work platforms. This was the first time a complete set of tiles were attached to a Starship. A handful of tiles have fallen off during tank pressure and engine tests but Elon has indicated such problems were expected.
Raptor engines, both the sea-level and vacuum optimized types, have been installed, removed, and re-installed a few times. (The Starship uses three Raptors optimized for sea-level pressure and three for vacuum.)
Pressure testing of the propellant tanks.
Structural test with hydraulic actuators pressing on the bottom of the vehicle during pressurization of the tanks.
Firing tests of the sea level and vacuum Raptors (see video below).
On October 21st, a vacuum-optimized Raptor was fired for the first time outside of the company’s McGregor, Texas engine test site.
Super Heavy Booster 4:
Preparation of Booster 4 has been quite intense. After the booster and Starship were briefly mounted atop one another on the Launch Mount, the booster was moved back to the Build Site for additional work and then returned to the OLS where it currently sits atop a temporary mount.
Engines on Booster 3 were test fired back in July but there has not yet been a test firing of engines installed on Booster 4. (Booster 3 was partially disassembled and the lower portion currently remains standing at the launch site.)
Stacking of the segments is nearly complete in the Mid-Bay hangar.
Several of the segments have been assembled and await stacking.
Stacking of Booster 5 is nearly complete in the High Bay hangar. Segments for Booster 6 have been observed.
New Wide Bay:
Construction of a third hangar is proceeding apace with the first metal frame pillars for the walls are being put in place following the completion of the foundation.
This hangar will be as tall as the high bay but roughly twice as wide.
The penthouse dining/bar facility on top appears nearly complete with the installation of large clear glass walls to allow visitors to see the facilities and watch launches and landings.
Staircase segments have been built and will apparently be stacked along the side of the building and will probably enclose the elevator, which currently rises in the open air.
To help meet all of these goals for Boca Chica, the company initiated a surge of workers by bringing them in from other facilities:
** Date of first Starship orbital test flight remains uncertain. The intense effort at Boca Chica has paid off in terms of preparation for a test launch. Elon Musk on Twitter:
If all goes well, Starship will be ready for its first orbital launch attempt next month, pending regulatory approval
However, as he indicates, the FAA may not license a launch for at least a few months (see FAA environmental review discussion below). A NASA project to use special cameras to observe a Starship’s thermal protection surface during reentry is expecting a launch in March. Whether this will be the first Starship orbital launch is not said.
** Pace of Starship development now depends on the FAA. The Commercial Space Transportation wing of the FAA is currently reviewing whether the environmental impact study (EIS) that was approved several years ago for the SpaceX launch facility at Boca Chica Beach, Texas remains valid. The earlier EIS was based on Falcon 9 launches from the site while SpaceX subsequently switched the spaceport completely to Starship/Super Heavy Booster operations.
The FAA could decide that no revisions are needed, or that some revisions are needed, or that a new enviro study must be completed from scratch. A whole new study could means years of delay. However, from a draft assessment released in September (see links below), such an option seems unlikely. If the FAA instead requires that some number of elements of the old study must be redone or that some elements must be added, that might still mean months of delay before any test flights can be carried out.
Recently, the FAA held hearings in which members of the public could express their views on the Boca Chica project. The pros greatly out-weighed the cons but we won’t know for weeks or months whether issues brought up at the hearing motivated additional requirements on SpaceX.
Links to items about the FAA regulatory situation:
Note that according to the FAA draft reviews, the number of Starship/Super Heavy launches from Boca Chica would be limited to five per year. So SpaceX’s goal of eventually making daily Starship flights to orbit will await the completion of the two offshore launch/landing platforms, Phobos and Deimos.
** Meanwhile, firing tests of the Raptors on the Starship, and presumably soon the Booster, have started:
Raptor has a very high chamber pressure, which in turn allows for a large expansion ratio nozzle without flow separation at sea level
**** Starship SN20 stacked atop Super Heavy Booster #4. The stacking lasted only few hours for fit checks and a photo op. However, it was a great milestone on the road to eventual launch. Later, Booster 4 was moved from the Launch Mount to a separate stand so that work could continue on the Mount.
Aug.6: “There is a reason no fully reusable orbital rocket has been built – it’s an insanely hard problem. Moreover, it must be rapidly & completely reusable (like an airplane). This is the only way to make life multiplanetary. Efficiencies of scale is why Starship is so large.“
Higher structural margins overall are needed for reuse, plus:
– Grid fins for aero control
– Boostback & landing propellant tanks
– Protecting engines from entry loads
– Body flaps for aero control
– Deorbit & landing propellant tanks
– Heat shield
Aug.6: Elliott – “Will the tanks of the Ship and Booster be stretched over time, like how Falcon 9’s were?”
Aug.6: “Over time, we might get orbital payload up to ~150 tons with full reusabity. If Starship then launched as an expendable, payload would be ~250 tons. What isn’t obvious from this chart is that Starship/Super Heavy is much denser than Saturn V.“
Oct.20: Pranay Pathole – “How much tons of payload could Starship deliver to orbit if it were to do an expendable launch? Could it deliver ~300 tons to orbit expendable? That’d be like double of Saturn V!”
Elon: “Well-optimized Starship would do ~250 tons to orbit as expendable & ~150 tons fully reusable“
Oct.21 : Toby Li – “Looks like some TPS tiles fell off during the static fire. Do you think this will be a major issue for the orbital launch or does the team already have a solution?”
Elon: “No, we expect some tiles to shake loose during static fires“
With three engines lighting on each landing, the required engine reliability could be demonstrated with a high degree of confidence with a string of fewer than 100 nominal landings following fixes addressing engine failures on early flights.
Note that this does not take into account the fact that early crew flights will have a small enough complement that landed mass will be low enough for single engine landings, further reducing engine reliability requirements.
All this suggests that however hard other aspects of Starship may be to human-rate, the landing method is not likely to be a blocker to NASA astronauts landing on Earth with Starship this decade.
Orbital tourist flights with small complements require a similar degree of safety. Passenger counts are likely to increase over time as the system is refined and proven out. Eventual airliner-like reliability may or may not happen, but if it doesn’t, the engines, at least as far as soft failures are concerned, are highly unlikely to be bottleneck.
I imagine that somewhere between a 1:100k and 1:1 million whole flight fatality risk would be low enough for most people to feel comfortable using Starship for point to point transport — the most ambitious use case, in terms of required safety.
This would likely call for somewhere between a 1:3 million and 1:300 million risk due to soft engine failures on landing. On the low end, this calls for engine reliability comparable to the Merlin engine. On the high end, we’re looking at less than an order of magnitude improvement in reliability.
A hydraulic actuator, used to move the Chopstick arms, was lifted for fit checks. Meanwhile, thermal insulating foam was spotted on Booster 4 around its QD plate and COPVs. Video and Pictures from Mary (@BocaChicaGal) and Nic (@NicAnsuini). Edited by Jack (@theJackBeyer).
The aft dome for Booster 6 was readied for sleeving as crews continue to work on Ship 21. Meanwhile, Perlite expansion furnaces were spotted at the launch site. Perlite is used as an insulator between the cryo shells and GSE tanks. Video and Pictures from Mary (@BocaChicaGal) and Nic (@NicAnsuini). Edited by Derek “DK” Knabenbauer (@DKlarations).
Ship 21’s nosecone rolled out ahead of it being stacked atop its barrel section. Booster 9’s thrust puck was delivered, along with a booster methane transfer tube (aka downcomer). Meanwhile, work on Booster 5, the B2.1 test tank, and Mechazilla’s chopstick arms continued. Video and Pictures from Mary (@BocaChicaGal). Edited by Jack (@theJackBeyer).
**** Oct.23: SpaceX Starship fires up & tower arms go on, NASA to select second HLS, SLS Fully Stacked – Marcus House
**** Aug.8: How SpaceX Designed A Heat Shield For The Largest Spacecraft Ever Built – Scott Manley
For the first time we saw the fully assembled Starship/SuperHeavy stack assembled on the pad. This is all designed to put Starship, the largest spacecraft ever built, into orbit, but we also got a really good look at a near complete thermal protection system, and that’s critical to bringing the Starship back from orbit safely.
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for news and analysis of key developments in NewSpace
The latest issue: Space Suit Opportunities, Inspiration4, FAA & Starship
Vol. 16, No. 6, September 22, 2021
Space Frontier Foundation Award for NewSpace Journalism