SpaceX stacks giant Starship rocket ahead of 3rd test flight (video, photos)


SpaceX’s third Starship megarocket is standing tall ahead of its upcoming test flight.

SpaceX recently stacked the enormous vehicle on the orbital launch mount at its Starbase site in South Texas, placing the Ship 28 upper-stage prototype atop its Booster 10 first-stage partner.

“Starship team is preparing for a full launch rehearsal ahead of Flight 3,” SpaceX wrote in a post on X today (Feb. 13) that shared photos of the milestone. In another post, the company published a short video of the stacking, which was performed by the “chopstick” arms of Starbase’s launch tower.

Related: See stunning photos and video of Starship’s 2nd launch

a huge silver and black rocket stands amid sand dunes on a seaside launch pad.

a huge silver and black rocket stands amid sand dunes on a seaside launch pad.

Flight 3 will likely occur about three weeks from now, according to SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk, provided the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration awards a launch license in time.

The first two test flights of Starship, the biggest and most powerful rocket ever built, occurred in April and November of last year.

closeup photo of a shiny silver conical spacecraft being placed atop a first-stage booster by the metallic arms of a launch tower.

closeup photo of a shiny silver conical spacecraft being placed atop a first-stage booster by the metallic arms of a launch tower.

Both missions ended in the explosive death of Starship, though the vehicle notched some important milestones on Flight 2.

For example, the 33 Raptor engines of Starship’s first stage aced their initial burn on the November missions, and the booster separated seamlessly from the upper-stage spacecraft.

closeup photo of a shiny silver conical spacecraft sitting atop a first-stage booster by the metallic arms of a launch tower.

closeup photo of a shiny silver conical spacecraft sitting atop a first-stage booster by the metallic arms of a launch tower.

RELATED STORIES:

— Starship and Super Heavy: SpaceX’s Mars-colonizing transportation system

— See stunning photos and video of Starship’s 2nd launch

— SpaceX: Facts about Elon Musk’s private spaceflight company

Both of Starship’s stainless-steel stages are designed to be fully and rapidly reusable. SpaceX is developing the 400-foot-tall (122 meters) megarocket to take people and payloads to the moon and Mars, as well as conduct other operations closer to home — including, potentially, carrying people on superfast trips here Earth.

SpaceX has already signed NASA up as a customer: The space agency picked Starship to be the first crewed lander for its Artemis program of moon exploration. If all goes according to plan, Starship will put NASA astronauts down near the lunar south pole for the first time in September 2026, on the Artemis 3 mission.





Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top