SpaceX stacks Starship atop massive booster for 1st time to make the world's tallest rocket

SpaceX's first orbital Starship SN20 was stacked atop its Super Heavy Booster 4 at the Starbase facility in South Texas. It was stacked for the first time Aug. 4, 2021, near Boca Chica Village. They were 395 feet tall, higher than NASA's Saturn V lunar rocket. (Image credit SpaceX/Elon Musk via Twitter SpaceX's Starship prototype was briefly placed on top of its booster for the first-time Friday, Aug. 6, setting a new record as the world's tallest rocket before a planned orbital test flight later this year. In view of Spadre.com and NASA Spaceflight livestreams, engineers performed the stacking test at SpaceX Starbase in South Texas. SpaceX has yet to comment on the stacking procedure on Twitter. However, Elon Musk, the founder, sent an update suggesting that the company wanted to finish the stacking test Thursday (Aug. 5), just a few hours after Starship had completed its rollout to launch pad. But, the winds were too strong. Starship SN20 ("Serial Number. Starship SN20 ("Serial No. 20") and its Super Heavy booster were mated together for approximately an hour to perform fit checks. The two vehicles then erected a formidable tower. Super Heavy stands 230 feet (70 meter) tall, while Starship SN4 adds another 165 feet (50 m). They stood together at a staggering 395 feet (120 m) taller than NASA’s huge Saturn V moon rocket, which was 363 foot (110 m) tall. Musk tweeted, "Dream come to life," about the Starship stacked. Video: SpaceX's Starship SN20 and a fuel tank rollout to the launch site Photos: SpaceX launches a super heavy rocket from the launch stand It is not known when the mission will fly its round-the world trip. Before the rocket can lift off, it must undergo several engine and pressurization tests. SpaceX is still waiting for the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to complete an environmental review of Starship’s launch operations. It's not clear when this review will be completed. Image 1 of 3 SpaceX's Starship SN20 during its first ever stacking atop the Super Heavy booster. (Image credit SpaceX/Elon Musk via Twitter Photo 2 of 3. (Image credit SpaceX/Elon Musk through Twitter Image 3 (3) (Image credit SpaceX/Elon Musk via Twitter Picture 3 of 3) (Image credit SpaceX/Elon Musk via Twitter Image 4 of 3) (Image credit SpaceX/Elon Musk via Twitter Image 5 of 3) (Image credit SpaceX/Elon Musk via Twitter Image 6 of 4) (Image credit SpaceX/Elon Musk via Twitter) Musk tweeted that Starship and the Super Heavy booster still require at least four significant items before they can fly. These include the final heat shield tiles for Starship and thermal protection for Super Heavy's engines. There are also more ground system propellant storage containers. A quick disconnect arm for Starship is likely to be attached to the pad’s gantry tower. Both Starship SN20 (and Super Heavy Booster 4) will likely test-fire their engines during separate static fire tests. SpaceX conducts these tests regularly before commercial launches. Last month, SpaceX tested its Super Heavy Booster 3 prototype. This is the first full stack of Starship Super Heavy. @NASASpaceflight pic.twitter.com/zwdcLpErSnAugust 6, 2021 See more SpaceX submitted a Starship orbital flight planning to the Federal Aviation Administration. It includes firsts for the Starship Program, which has been continuously testing prototypes for flight operations. The plan states that the Super Heavy Booster 4, once it has lifted its first Starship prototype, will crash into the Gulf of Mexico approximately 20 miles (32 km) offshore. Starship will launch into orbit, then fly around the Earth one time. It will return to the Pacific Ocean, near Kauai, approximately 90 minutes later. SpaceX intends to use Starship as a two-stage, fully reusable transportation system that can send people and large cargo to Mars, the moon and other distant destinations in the solar system. NASA recently selected Starship to be the crewed lander in its Artemis moon-landing mission. This was a major contract win for the program. NASA had set a 2024 deadline under the Trump administration to get boots on the surface. The new Biden administration has not yet committed to that timeline. Follow Elizabeth Howell @howellspace. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @Spacedotcom