Update: The first Super Heavy cryo proof test is now scheduled to take place no later than 6 PM to 12 AM CDT (UTC-5) on Thursday, July 8. Sub-optimal weather, with intermittent heavy rain – to the point where a flash flood warning is in effect until Friday evening – is expected over the next few days.
However, Booster 3 was spotted for the first time ever at around 9 a.m., which indicates that SpaceX may still attempt at least one or two tests later today or tomorrow.
Road and beach closures were ordered earlier this week, Upcoming space flight reports The SpaceX Super Heavy booster is set to attempt a “cryo proof” test for the first time as early as Thursday, July 8.
Known as Booster 3 (B3), SpaceX has introduced its first Super Heavy functional prototype – Biggest booster rocket ever From the factory to the launch pad on July 1st. One week later, SpaceX appears to be on track to begin its first fully integrated qualification test for the Super Heavy, building on an apparently successful stress-testing campaign using BN2.1 booster test tank. After completing several tests, the BN2.1 was returned to a scrap yard near SpaceX’s Boca Chica plant, while a portion of the mount designed specifically for the campaign was reinstalled on one of the ‘sub-orbital mounts’ used to test the spacecraft. last year.
A few days after the Mount A modifications were completed, the Super Heavy Booster 3 was moved to the board and installed on top of it. For whatever reason, SpaceX technicians and engineers spent the next week researching the rocket’s exterior and interior with the help of an army of boom lifts, turning the basic structure into a functional pressure vessel with all the necessary power, telemetry and plumbing.
It appears that 99% of this closing work was done under the hood of SpaceX’s elevated bay, where the Booster 3 was assembled from dozens of rings and steel domes, but the work appears to be completed regardless. The workers had to contend with the heavy rain and thunderstorms typical of southern Texas on Tuesday and Wednesday, but they were exposed to winds and fairly mild weather.
Conditions were more dramatic on Tuesday, with torrential rain only due to the occasional lightning strike — although Booster 3 and the orbital launch pad’s skyscraper-sized launch tower appear to have left them free of the strike.
Now that it appears fully equipped with all the necessary avionics, wiring and plumbing, the next major objectives of the Booster 3 will be ambient and cryogenic proof tests, referring to the missile’s structural integrity verification process first with benign nitrogen gas and later with ultra-cooled liquid nitrogen. SpaceX has done at least a dozen or two “cool proofs” over the past 18 months, and at this point, qualification testing is fairly routine.
However, Super Heavy B3 he is The largest rocket booster ever built and testing such a massive rocket would necessarily force SpaceX to walk Some The new land. In fact, it’s not really clear how exactly SpaceX will perform the first freeze proof of Booster 3 since the suborbital launch complex it hosts doesn’t have anywhere near enough refrigerated storage capacity to fill the Super Heavy with more than 3,000 ton (~6.6 million pounds) of liquid nitrogen.
As always, testing completely new massive rockets isn’t easy, so delays are possible – if not entirely probable. Regardless, the first test window for Super Heavy B3 Scheduled From noon to 8 p.m. UTC-5) on Thursday, July 8, with two backups from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on July 9 and 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. on July 12. Stay tuned for the first test updates of the full-size Super Heavy booster!