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Elon Musk & Raptor, CEO of SpaceX, visit Florida Starship surprisingly



During his third outrage on Falcon Heavy's East Coast, also known as SpaceX's most difficult start to date, CEO Elon Musk passed the company's Florida Starship campus and delivered a small thank-you speech for his Stephen Hawking medal for 2019.

On the same day, a lonely Raptor was made visible to all at the same spot, so unconnected photographers could take impressively detailed photos. Almost the first time that a full-size Raptor was traveling east of Texas, the presence of the engine on the SpaceX property in Florida Starship is truly surprising, as the East Coast campus focuses solely on building prototypes of the orbital class. So why is one of SpaceX's few finished raptors in Florida?

About a month ago, Elon Musk was announced as the recipient of the Stephen Hawking Medal of Science Communication in 201

9. Musk, who was to be personally conferred on the occasion of a ceremony in Switzerland, could not attend the event due to an appointment conflict with Falcon Heavy's third start. However, the extremely busy CEO managed to record a short thank-you message, which was then broadcast in Switzerland.

Musk's message, either recorded or streamed, was accidentally filmed on SpaceX's Florida Starship Development campus, a surprisingly large facility discovered less than two months ago. The CEO stood in the sun right in front of two large segments of the second orbital class Starship prototype, part of a parallel development process with a second Starship prototype (and separate Starhopper) in Texas. Musk's appearance on Starship Florida is not particularly surprising. If he flew all the way to Florida for Falcon Heavy, he can also visit the latest SpaceX facilities in Florida on the same trip.

Raptor Mystery: Episode II

What is surprising, however, is the presence of a finished Raptor engine in Florida. The look can certainly be deceptive, but SpaceX's Florida Starship prototype, while undoubtedly flying through pre-assembly, does not seem nearly ready to fly. In Boca Chica, a partially disjointed SpaceX team is preparing Starhopper – a suborbital prototype with partial faithfulness – for low-altitude and low-speed hop testing

SpaceX ™ Starhopper in South Texas is under the blazing summer sun on June 4th. (Pauline Acalin)

Already in May, appeared in South Texas a mysterious Raptor engine – presumably the serial number 04 (SN04) – and was soon installed on Starhopper to check the accuracy of fit and engine performance Soon uninstalled and moved to another Location mailed, perhaps to SpaceX's fast Florida Starship. If the Florida Raptor surprise is indeed SN04, then it can be assumed that it will remain sluggish for the time being, and as a fit-check article opportunity for training and instruction of technicians and civil engineers. Currently, Florida's spacecraft is divided into several large segments, including the seemingly early stages of its first fuel tank bulkhead (s).

The SpaceX Florida team wastes no time in catching up on Texas, at least as long as Boca Chica's Starhopper work is ruled out. Undoubtedly, after a similar period of time (~ 2-3 months) SpaceX Texas would be in a similar state Developing Starship, however, much of the Boca Chica workforce has been heavily involved in building, upgrading, and testing Starhopper, essentially a Raptor and BFR flight testing rig.

Florida's Orbital Starship prototype looks to some extent even more sophisticated than its relatively robust Texas cousin. Given another 1-2 months of uninterrupted work and a similar rate of progress as in the past two months, it is not out of the question that the Florida prototype will be seriously similar to a finished spacecraft. After all the realistic considerations, some of the hardest work will be in and around Starship's ready-made airshell, and the avionics equipment, the propellant / powertrain installation, and the implementation of hydraulic / propulsion systems will all mean a tremendous amount of work.

The top half of SpaceX's South Texas Orbital Starship prototype is awaiting completion of its business on June 4. (Tom Cross)

Even after the completion of Starship East, SpaceX faces the seemingly enormous challenge of transporting a massive spaceship weighing several tens of tons, 9 meters in diameter and 60 meters high, to Cocoa to Pad 39A , a 20-30 mile route with public roads and highways. In fact, the simplest way to transport Starship to an inland barge on the nearby Indian River can be to haul it over 100 miles by water to the beach next to Pad 39A. Regardless, no method will be quick or easy, and both will be quite a show for local observers.

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