Elon Musk gives a tour of the SpaceX Starfactory rocket site

First look at SpaceX Starfactory with Elon Musk

SpaceX chief Elon Musk gave everyday astronaut YouTuber Tim Dodd an in-depth tour of the Starfactory in Boca Chica, Texas.

Filmed the day before the Starship megarocket’s fourth test flight earlier this month, the hour-long video takes viewers inside the facility where workers build the rocket’s various components and assemble the vehicle itself.

Musk said he envisions the new facility, parts of which are still under construction, could make up to 100 Starship spacecraft per year, with an ultimate goal of building up to a thousand, although facilities additional production would be necessary to achieve this objective.

Musk takes viewers through many parts of the Starfactory, including a room filled with powerful Raptor engines that power the Super Heavy booster that puts the Starship spacecraft into orbit.

SpaceX boss explains how the next-generation Raptor engine will fly without a heat shield. Because it’s exposed, it will require cooling circuits built into all parts of the engine, “so it looks very simple on the outside, but it’s complicated on the inside,” Musk said.

He also talked about rocket reusability, which is at the heart of the SpaceX system. Its goal is to build a fully reusable rocket where the first stage and second stage can land and fly again quickly, much like a large airliner. SpaceX successfully reused the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket by returning it to Earth and landing it vertically shortly after launch, but returning the second stage from space is a whole other challenge.

For Starship to be viable, SpaceX must be able to land the first stage Super Heavy booster and also land the Starship safely at its destination – whether that be the Moon, Mars or somewhere beyond – because it will carry the crew and cargo. He must then be able to bring the Starship home safely.

SpaceX is investing huge sums in Starfactory as it seeks to develop its Starship system ahead of crew and cargo flights to the Moon. However, many tests are still necessary, with the Starship due to carry out its fifth test flight next month.

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