Today, August 6th, SpaceX achieved a significant milestone. Its founder, Elon Musk, released a few images showing the Starship prototype, known as Starship 20, arriving at the launch pad site in south Texas. The rocket joined the Super Heavy booster, which arrived two days earlier.
Loaded up with 29 Raptors (that's how SpaceX calls its powerful engines), the 230 ft (70 meters) booster welcomed the Starship spacecraft atop of it, which added another 165 ft (50 m) of height. Together, the fully stacked vehicle stands 395 ft tall (120 m).
That's taller than NASA's Saturn V size, which, with the Apollo spacecraft on top, measures 363 feet (111 m). As SpaceX is getting closer to launch what will be the world's tallest rocket on its first orbital test flight, there are still some details that must be sorted out.
When a Twitter user asked Musk what's next, SpaceX CEO replied that thermal protection to booster engines, ground propellant storage tanks, and a QD arm for the ship still need to be added. These will take around two weeks of testing. The good news is that the heat shield tiles that Starship 20 needs to survive reentry are about 98% complete.
As for its launch date, that's still unclear when it will take place. According to CNN, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) must decide whether the Super Heavy booster can launch from Texas without affecting the surrounding environment due to its massive force.
Starship Fully Stacked pic.twitter.com/Fs88RNsmfH— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 6, 2021