It finally did the thing!
For the first time, SpaceX has managed to lift its gargantuan Super Heavy rocket booster, the world's most powerful rocket, onto the launch pad using its colossal "chopsticks"-wielding launch tower, as seen in footage shared by NASASpaceFlight.
It's a truly impressive feat of engineering, and one that brings SpaceX's inaugural Starship orbital test flight ever closer.
— Michael Baylor (@nextspaceflight) June 24, 2022
The rocket stage, dubbed Booster 7 and outfitted with 33 Raptor engines, made its way to the company's orbital launchpad at its testing facilities in Boca Chica, Texas on Thursday.
The company's 440-foot "Mechazilla" launch tower was then able to flex its two massive robot arms to carefully lift the Booster high up into the air, spin it around, and gingerly place it on the orbital launch pad.
The maneuver is a key part of the space company's plans to make its Starship super heavy platform reusable. In 2020, Musk said that the goal is to have Starship launch a staggering three times a day.
Ready to Fly
It's still unclear when the company's first-ever orbital test launch will take place, but given the fact that many of the pieces are starting to come together, it shouldn't be too long now.
"Starship will be ready to fly next month," Musk promised last week.
"We will have a second Starship stack ready to fly in August and then monthly thereafter," he added at the time.
Will SpaceX's launch tower approach pay off and allow the nearly 400-foot Super Heavy and Starship stack to successfully rocket into space — or will everything go up in smoke?
We can't wait to find out — the stakes are far higher than they've ever been.
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