August 3, 2021

I’M EXPECTING AN EARTH-SHATTERING KABOOM: SpaceX installs 29 engines on giant Super Heavy Mars rocket.

Super Heavy will initially sport 29 Raptors, and future versions will have 32 of the engines, Musk has said. Starship’s upper stage, a 165-foot-tall (50 meters) spacecraft called Starship, will be powered by six additional Raptors.

Three-engine Starship prototypes have flown multiple times, on test flights that reached a maximum altitude of 6.2 miles (10 kilometers). In May, a vehicle known as SN15 (“Serial No. 15”) became the first to ace this high-altitude hop, surviving its touchdown intact. (Several of SN15’s predecessors did well until the very end, failing to stick the landing.)

SN15’s success cleared the way for the coming orbital flight, which will be the first liftoff of a Super Heavy vehicle. A fully stacked Starship, consisting of a Super Heavy known as Booster 4 and the SN20 upper-stage prototype, will launch from South Texas.

The only question is when, and the EPA seems to be dragging its feet.

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