The Super Heavy is the lower stage of the most powerful rocket ever built, the Starship. It could launch to orbit in 2022.
SpaceX’s Starship is a huge feat of engineering, and Elon Musk is motivated by his desire to set up people living permanently on Mars. Super Heavy will also use it for launching satellites and spacecraft to orbit and Mars.
SpaceX’s Super Heavy rocket stands 70 meters tall and can carry 3400 tonnes of propellant. In addition, it can lift 3 million kg.
SpaceX is exploring a second option for landing the Super Heavy rocket, which would be the heaviest object ever caught in mid-air. The rocket is entirely reusable, and Musk looks forward to massive cost savings.
SpaceX races against time to launch the Super Heavy
SpaceX is racing against time to get the Super Heavy ready for its first orbital flight, which has seen multiple postponements. The company has taken advantage of the delay to make many important changes to the Super Heavy, including replacing Booster 4 with Booster 7.
Booster 7 is the first Super Heavy to reach the test stand with secondary header tanks meant to store landing propellant. In addition, the stand was modified to support 13 rams to test Super Heavy’s new 13-engine thrust section.
The stress test involved filling the rocket’s tanks with liquid nitrogen. The test stand’s hydraulic rams simulating Raptor engines caused the tanks to deform.
SpaceX’s Super Heavy rocket’s test campaign was cut short by damage to a tube that transfers methane to the main liquid oxygen tank. The tube also serves as a giant receptacle for liquid methane for boost-back and landing burns.
SpaceX has turned things around for the Booster 7 after the transfer tube imploded during testing. The booster is now back on the orbital launch mount for more fixtures and additional tests.
SpaceX has completed tests on Booster 7 and now plans to install the new Raptor V2 engines on the booster. This will allow the static fire test to move faster than the test for Booster 4.