This is a ridiculous thing.
SpaceX is closer to launching its first Starship prototype into orbit or, at the very least, in its general direction, should something go wrong.
Elon Musk's space company has just unveiled the first prototype of its Super Heavy booster orbital-class, which is a 230-foot rocket stage that can lift its Starship spacecraft 160 feet into space.
Musk shared images and videos on Tuesday showing the booster being moved from the booster to its orbital launch mount. Engineers installed 29 Raptor rocket engines in the booster's base over the weekend.
The stakes are going to be even higher as test flights to orbit will require more thrust than simple hops of ten kilometers. Starship spacecraft prototypes were tested using only a few engines and not a rocket booster with 29 additional engines.
Super Heavy Booster moving to orbital launch mount pic.twitter.com/axaDnXNm84 Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 3, 2021
The Federal Aviation Administration will conduct an environmental review before the company can launch its nearly 400-foot spacecraft stack and booster. This is because the company's orbital launch facilities have yet to be approved.
SpaceX and the regulator have had a rocky relationship. SpaceX has repeatedly decided to test-launch its Starship prototypes, despite not receiving a FAA green light.
SpaceX is at an impasse to launch its first Starship spacecraft into orbit. It remains to be seen if that spacecraft will comply with the lengthy environmental review by regulators.
As Ars Technica reports, public comment will be allowed for 30 days after the draft of the review has been made public. The FAA will then determine whether any adjustments are necessary to comply with environmental laws.
Musk is likely to be too busy waiting for this.
READ MORE: Elon Musk's photos show SpaceX launching its huge rocket booster for Starship [CNBC]
Starship: Elon Musk shows off a pic of his monstrous super heavy Booster Engine System