SpaceX gave news about the development of the Starship rocket: assembly, new engine, construction arms … and a video in computer generated images, which shows the dream use of Starship.
It was on February 11, 2022 that SpaceX organized a status report to give news about the development of Starship, the company’s new rocket, which will replace Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy in a few years. And it was Elon Musk himself who was responsible for presenting the latest technical advances, including motorization and recovery of launch vehicles.
A new, more powerful engine for the Starship
On the propulsion side, SpaceX presented the development of the Raptor rocket engine, the new version of which develops a much higher pressure than the first generation Raptor. Raptor 1 has a thrust of 1,800 kilonewtons (kN) at sea level (i.e. about 185 tons of thrust), while Raptor 2 develops over 230 tons of thrust (about 2,250 kN)
SpaceX shared a video on Twitter showing how this Raptor 2 works during a test on a test bed – the rocket motor sits horizontally and is not integrated into a rocket. The video, which does not show the entire test, shows the Raptor 2 running for at least 20 seconds. This allows you to see how it behaves when powered on.
The construction of the arm to “capture” the starship is progressing
The scene point also made it possible to show the partial operation of the launcher arm, which must be near the starship. This arm will play an important role in the long term because the company wants to use it to catch up with the flight of the rockets returning from mission. The horizontal part of the arm will be equipped with some kind of clamp to catch the launchers.
This arm, which has been in the works for at least 2020, is also tasked with lifting the upper part of the Starship (which is also called Starship, while the lower section is titled Super Heavy) so that it can be installed and prepared for flight. The video thus shows the Starship being towed to the top, after which the arm rotates to install the machine on the Super Heavy.
As the Starship is not yet operational, it is not possible to see the arm in action in its role as a missile interceptor. In January, the company had communicated about it by showing the progress of the construction of the tower. For SpaceX, this choice will allow the landing gear to be removed from the starship, saving mass and freeing up space for something else.
SpaceX shows the imagined use of Starship in computer graphics
The presentation organized by SpaceX on February 11 was also an opportunity to project itself into a dream future where the Starship will then be fully operational and will meet all kinds of needs – the shipping company intends to make this ship a real Swiss army knife . exploration and transportation, whether on Earth or in the solar system.
Since this future has yet to happen, SpaceX has to make do with massive use of computer-generated imagery for the time being. And that’s what he does in a video that shows a fictional mission where a Starship rocket lifts off, gets refueled in orbit (while its first stage returns to Earth) before setting off on an adventure. To Mars.