SpaceX specialists manually place thermal protection tiles on the Starship prototype

SpaceX specialists manually place thermal protection tiles on the Starship prototype

Photographer Jack Beyer often publishes on your Twitter and on the YouTube channel there are interesting photos and videos dedicated to the space theme. In one of the recent entries, he posted an accelerated video of how SpaceX specialists manually place thermal protection tiles on a section of one of the future prototypes of the reusable Starship.

“It’s very cool to see today how applied by hand thermal protection tiles Starship. I wonder how soon this process will be automated? ” – he wrote. By the way, this recording is also in a more complete 19-minute video on YouTube – the video also includes work on preparing the Starship SN11 prototype for a test launch (it may take place next week):

SpaceX is gradually starting to increase the number of heat-shield tiles – if in fact there weren’t any on SN8, then on SN11 they already cover a noticeable part of the rocket. Perhaps in the coming months we will see a prototype with a full-fledged thermal protection (it is designed to prevent the destruction of the ship when heated during the entry into the Earth’s atmosphere).

By the way, according to Elon Musk, many changes have been made to SN11 in order to correct the shortcomings identified during previous tests. He explained that the SN10 prototype exploded after landing because the engines ran out of power as a result of helium leaking from the fuel tank. On March 3, SpaceX launched its Starship SN10 spacecraft to an altitude of 10 kilometers and managed to land the car, although the rocket exploded a few minutes after landing. This mission followed two other Starship launches, SN9 and SN8, to the same altitude – the prototypes managed to take off and maneuver, but crashed on landing.

SpaceX is gradually making changes and updates to the Starship design after each test flight. The rocket is about 50 meters high – current prototypes are powered by three Raptor rocket engines, and the final version will receive six such engines. The ship itself is just part of a huge, fully reusable system that will include, in addition to the Starship, a 70-meter Super Heavy first stage with 30 Raptor engines.

The company said Starship would eventually be able to deliver up to 100-110 tons into low-earth orbit. NASA has selected Starship as one of three candidates to deliver astronauts and equipment to the Moon under the Artemis program. Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has already booked a SpaceX Starship flight around the moon for himself and eight other passengers.

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