Climb Starship’s robotic launch tower with Elon Musk

This Thursday (26), Elon Musk, founder and CEO of SpaceX, appeared in a video on the channel everyday astronaut, on YouTube, exercising a completely different function: that of a tourist guide. It’s explained: the billionaire toured the Starbase, the launch pad for the Starship and its Super Heavy propellant rocket.

Lasting 30 minutes, the video shows Musk climbing the “Mechazilla” tower, a metal structure equipped with semi-autonomous mechanical arms that was designed to help during the launch and landing of the gigantic assembly which constitutes the most world’s largest rocket.

After a long and awkward elevator ride, the businessman finally reached the top of the 143-meter tower (the equivalent of a 24-storey building).

“Wow, this is so epic,” Musk said. “The ship looks small from here,” he said, seeing a prototype spacecraft in the distance while filming the incredible sight with his smartphone. “We should take it like a hang glider and jump or something. That would be cool,” he joked.

Overview of the launch tower, with the robotic arms that will be used to capture the rocket upon return to Earth. Image: Elon Musk, via Twitter

He took the opportunity to explain how everything works, talk a little about the technical specifications of the vehicle and the tower and comment on the importance of making humans multiplanetary.

According to Musk, the future of humanity is uncertain and we must be prepared to seek refuge on other planets if we want to continue living. “The key to creating multiplanetary life is in reusable rockets,” said the entrepreneur, bowing to one of SpaceX’s specialties.

Despite the extraordinary complexity involved in capturing a 120-meter spacecraft weighing several hundred tons with “robotic claws”, the team is optimistic, although such a massive undertaking is likely to fail.

“We still haven’t found a reason why it won’t work,” SpaceX Starship launch engineering director Joe Petrezelka said. “Success is one of the possible outcomes,” Musk added. “The probability is uncertain, but it is greater than zero. »

SpaceX president makes optimistic predictions for Starship launch

According to SpaceX chief operating officer and president Gwynne Shotwell, the company estimates the Starship’s first orbital launch attempt will be in June or July.

However, prior to this, clearance is required from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which conducts a “Programmatic Environmental Assessment” (PEA) of Starbase. Only after this assessment is complete will the agency be able to issue the license to launch the largest and most powerful rocket ever built.

Added to this are the numerous tests that SpaceX has carried out on the Starship and Super Heavy prototypes, which end up pointing to this or that adjustment to be made.

Given this scenario, it is very likely that the launch target set by Shotwell will be almost unattainable.

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