SpaceX stacked its latest Starship vehicle on Tuesday (Sept. 5), lifting an upper-stage prototype called Ship 25 atop a first stage variant known as Booster 9 on the orbital launch mount at Starbase, the company’s site in South Texas.
That same day, Maxar Technologies’ WorldView-1 satellite captured a great photo of the newly stacked rocket, which stands nearly 400 feet (122 meters) tall — and Maxar posted the shot on X (formerly known as Twitter) for all of us to see.
As Maxar noted in that Thursday (Sept. 7) X post, the Ship 25-Booster 9 duo are being prepped for liftoff in the near future — the second ever for the Starship program.
The first test flight of a fully stacked Starship occurred on April 20 from Starbase. It aimed to send the upper stage partway around Earth, culminating in a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii. But the vehicle suffered several problems, including the failure of its two stages to separate as planned, and SpaceX beamed up a self-destruct command not long after launch.
The goals of the upcoming second flight will be similar to those of the first, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk has said. And he wants it to happen soon, stressing that Booster 9 and Ship 25 are ready to launch whenever the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grants a license.
The FAA is still reviewing the mishap report that SpaceX filed about the April 20 launch. That flight caused considerable damage to Starbase’s orbital launch mount and rained dirt, chunks of concrete and other debris down on the surrounding area.
Starship is the biggest and most powerful launcher ever built, boasting nearly twice as much thrust at liftoff as NASA’s Space Launch System megarocket. Musk believes that the fully reusable…
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