SpaceX Starship IFT3: Full Stack! Last Second Fixes! What happened?

SpaceX Starship IFT3: Full Stack! Last Second Fixes! What happened?

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This is it! Third orbital Starship   stacked! What’s left before the launch? The construction of the second Starship   tower continues! New segments are coming! Axiom-3 Crew returns! Polaris Dawn launch   delayed! And Voyager 1 is showing signs of age. My name is Felix. Welcome to What About It!?  Let’s dive right in! Starship Updates  Less than three months! That’s how little time  it took for SpaceX’s engineers to stack another   Ship on top of a Booster after the second flight. The progress is, as always, incredible, yet there  

is still a lot to do before another launch. When is IFT3 going to happen? What’s   left to do? What’s the current  estimate? Follow me to find out!  Following its initial successful static fire  of all 33 Raptor engines, Booster 10 made its   way back to the Mega Bay in early January. Once it was positioned on one of the three   newly constructed work stands, the team began the  final touches to prepare the prototype for flight. 

This process involved the removal of the hot  staging ring to allow for adjustments to the   forward dome, which houses the mechanisms  for the four grid fins, among other things.  These are essential for maneuvering  in the denser layers of Earth’s   atmosphere, allowing for a precise landing. That’s the theory, at least, as we’re yet to see   a Booster survive beyond the boost back burn. A little over a month after its arrival at   the Mega Bay, on February 8th, Booster  10 departed from the production site.  We were all hoping that its journey  would lead to the launch site rather   than going again to the rocket garden, and  indeed, our hopes were confirmed as it made   its way directly to the launch pad. Thanks to Redline Helicopter Tours,  

we were able to capture stunning aerial  images of this Super Heavy as it arrived   at Starbase. Cars and people for scale. The sight was nothing short of spectacular!  Being in the fast lane, the Starbase team quickly  proceeded to lift Booster 10 using Mechazilla into   the Orbital Launch Mount later that night. We have a booster on the pad!  Upon close inspection, a new change was  observed at the bottom of the prototype's   liquid oxygen tank. Can you spot it?  Compared to earlier images, Booster 10 now  features two distinct rows of welding marks.  Given their location, the most logical explanation  for these welding marks is the installation of   anti-slosh baffles. Anti-what? 

Anti-slosh baffles! You see, most rockets, despite their   humongous size, derive the bulk of their mass  not from the materials used for fuel tanks or the   engines that power them but from their propellant. For example, the Super Heavy booster alone   carries around 3,400 tons or  7,496,000 pounds of propellant.  The prototype itself weighs just 200 tons  or 441,000 pounds, which is less than   six percent of the total mass when fueled. Okay, Felix, that’s impressive and all,   but why does it matter? Excellent question!  The presence of such quantities of liquid onboard  significantly affects the rocket's stability.  During deceleration or maneuvers such as the boost  back burn, where the rocket flips, the propellant   tends to resist this change in direction. It slams into the tank walls,   creating a sloshing motion, which can  be incredibly dangerous for the rocket. 

As the liquid propellant moves, it shifts the  rocket's center of mass, making it difficult to   control as the engines have to counter the swing. Additionally, when tanks are not completely full,   allowing the propellant to slosh freely  can lead to scenarios where the engines   momentarily lose access to liquid fuel or  oxidizer, sucking in gas bubbles instead.  In the best-case scenario, it will cause engine  shutdown, but if you’re particularly unlucky, it   may result in an imbalance in the fuel-to-oxidizer  ratio, potentially leading to an engine explosion.  Some speculate that this is precisely what  forced Booster 7 to end its career prematurely...  Its abrupt boost-back maneuver may have caused  excessive fuel sloshing, depriving its engines   of fuel and prompting an automatic shutdown. With the majority of engines offline,   the Flight Termination System was activated,  leading to the booster's destruction. 

And yet, rockets around the world launch on  a daily basis. So there is a way to solve the   slosh problem, right? Yep! This is where   anti-slosh baffles come into the picture! Installed within the tanks, these metal structures   aim to mitigate the movement of propellant. Starships are already equipped with these   baffles, as seen in some rare  interior photos of the rocket. 

However, it's possible that, following the  second launch attempt, Starbase engineers   concluded that the existing slosh baffles  weren't enough, prompting the addition of more.  While this is just a speculation,  it's a theory worth considering.  What are your thoughts on this? Do you agree  with this theory? Maybe you have a better   explanation? Please let me know in the comments. OK, but that's merely the tip of the iceberg in   terms of intriguing developments at Starbase. After all, we’re talking SpaceX here.  Less than 24 hours after Booster 10 was placed  on the launch mount, Ship 28 was moved from the   Raptor installation stand to a transport stand. Then, in the early morning hours, the upper stage  

for the next orbital Starship traveled  down Highway 4 to the Launch Complex.  Yes! Given that two out of six engines of Ship 28 were   recently replaced, we expected a possible return  to suborbital pad B to test the new Raptors.  However, that’s not what happened.  Instead, the prototype was positioned   directly between the arms of the Mechazilla. After lots of work on the Ship Quick Disconnect  

arm, Ship 28 was finally lifted and mated  with Booster 10, completing the assembly   of the third flight-worthy Starship! The sight of another full stack at   Starbase is always a breathtaking one, but  obviously SpaceX hasn't gone through all   this effort just to take pretty pictures. New road closures have been announced,   scheduling a primary test window for February  12th, with backup dates on the 13th and 14th. A WDR is the final step in pre-flight  testing, essentially mirroring a launch   without the actual ignition of the engines. During this test, the rocket is filled to   the brim with propellant, and the countdown  mimics the real deal up to the final moments.  However, just seconds before what would  be "liftoff!" in an actual launch,   the process is halted, and the propellant  is safely returned to the tank farm.  What will happen after this  test is shrouded in mystery…  My prediction is that we'll likely see both the  Ship and the Booster taken down from the launch   tower to allow for additional work on Stage Zero. As you can see, there’s still a lot of scaffolding  

at both the launch deck and the  quick disconnect arm. All of it   has to disappear before the liftoff. Additionally, looking at the previous   test campaign, we may see multiple  removals of the hot staging ring.  It’s still a new technology for Starship, and  it’s clear that engineers were dealing with some   issues while it was installed atop Booster 7. Furthermore, there's a possibility that Ship  

28 could still end up at Pad B for  another six-engine static fire test.  Conducting a Wet Dress Rehearsal will lower  that chance significantly, but on the other   hand, launching without testing feels like a  potential failure point, which can be avoided.  What are your thoughts? Do you believe  that Ship 28 will undergo another static   fire? Place your bets in the comments! Aside from getting the launch tower ready,   there are many smaller tasks to be  addressed at the launch site before   another Starship can take to the skies. Currently, only one water tank and a single   nitrogen tank have received reinforcements. It remains to be seen whether the rest of the   original vertical tank farm will receive similar  treatment or if SpaceX will just pray that they   don’t get too damaged during the next liftoff. Another critical task slated for completion   before the next Starship launch is the  extension of the wall behind the newly   constructed horizontal tank farm. On February 7th, our photographer,  

John, and I witnessed the delivery of the  ninth and final massive cryogenic vessel,   which was promptly positioned on its pedestal. This marks the culmination of the primary   construction phase for the new tank farm. Now, all that’s left is to connect them to   the rest of the system, which is  easier said than done. It likely  

won’t be happening before the third launch. Another significant item on the pre-launch   checklist involves finishing the building  that might seem not that important, but is   essential - the SpaceX reinforced bathroom. Yes, you heard that right. A bunker toilet.  Some time back, we noticed that  the initial construction phase   of a concrete structure had to be restarted  due to an issue with the original framework. 

At that time, we speculated this might be a  restroom for onsite workers, which has since   been confirmed to us by several different sources. Currently, the construction team is rushing to   complete the roof as quickly as possible. All these support structures have to be   removed before the next Starship flight. Otherwise, they may take to the skies   together with the rocket itself. It’s incredible how much you can   discover just by looking at things from above!  How about you go see all of this for yourself?  Book your own ride at Starbase and see  these things in person, or just enjoy one   of the most incredible views in the world. Go to! You'll find  

the link in the description as well!  I promise you won’t ever forget this.  Right now, it looks like a February launch is  still in the cards, but time is running thin.   We might be looking at March already. That’s  still less than a month from now, though!  Once the third Starship clears the tower, it will  kick-start the groundwork for the second OLIT. 

Before we continue with more SpaceX  news, here’s a word about privacy.  Is your personal data exposed online? Take control  of your privacy with today’s sponsor, Incogni! Like many, I once surfed the web  carefree, unaware of the data it   gathered on me. While I'm more cautious  now, the information remains accessible. Thankfully there’s Incogni, the sponsor  of today’s video. Incogni erases my data   history from data broker’s lists, meaning  they cannot sell my personal information,   guarding me from potential scams, invasion  of privacy, and identity theft by using   automation to cover all broker types,  ensuring comprehensive protection. Here's how it works: Sign up,  grant permission, and watch   them effortlessly remove your information! Ease your mind and take your personal data   back with Incogni! Use code FELIX at the  link below and get 60% off an annual plan! On we go with the news! Previously, we reported that four sections   of the tower had been loaded onto a barge. I'm pleased to inform you that their voyage   has begun, with the tugboat steering these  segments towards the Port of Brownsville. 

Their arrival is anticipated  just over a week from now.  Visible progress is also being  made at the Sanchez site.  Following the erection of the first column of the  tower's eighth segment in early February, all four   columns have now been positioned vertically. Workers have even begun installing   the first horizontal beams. These not only reinforce the  

structure but also serve as attachment points for  the outer black shielding. Though, we’re yet to   see a launch tower fully covered in those panels. Another vital part of the launch tower segments   are these three rails, allowing the  Mechazilla arms to go up and down. 

I can’t wait to see these segments being  stacked. Exciting times are coming!  Shifting focus to Massey's, things here  are developing at the speed of light.  The most notable change has occurred  at the front of the nitrogen tank farm. 

This area previously seen being excavated  is now filled with rebar and metal embeds,   arranged in a circle approximately nine meters or  29.5 feet in diameter - clearly a structure that   has something to do with Starship prototypes. Yet, the presence of four large embeds outside   this circle adds an element of mystery, as  we haven’t seen such a configuration before.  What is this? Did you know that one hint as   to what could be going on here is the removal of  pipelines leading to the can crusher test stand? Perhaps SpaceX wants to relocate the  crusher to this area, potentially to free   up space for additional cryogenic tanks. Alternatively, the construction might  

have something to do with the mysterious metal  structures currently being pieced together inside   this white tent, which appeared out of nowhere. SpaceX might be making a stand designed to   hold prototypes in queue while other  Ships and Boosters undergo testing.  However, we’ll have to wait for more data  to confirm or disprove these theories.  Moving to the flame trench area, the majority  of the slurry plant has now been dismantled,   signaling the completion of  the ground reinforcement phase. 

Now, the focus has shifted to installing rebar  cages around the perimeter of the trench,   as can be seen in footage captured by John. We’re also seeing concrete being poured into   the diaphragm wall, meaning that another phase,  the dirt removal, might be around the corner.  It’s crazy to think that in such a short time, a  simple shooting range was converted into one of   the most important places at Starbase. When do you anticipate the first   static fire test will occur at Massey's? Could we see it in the first half of 2024 or   perhaps as soon as the first quarter of this year? Share your thoughts in the comments. I always   enjoy reading them! Now, you’ve watched   more than half the video, and you’re still  watching! Thank you! This means you like it!  We’ve looked into our channel metrics,  and there are over 2 million returning   monthly viewers who have not subscribed yet.  Help us improve the channel even further by  

double-checking that you’ve hit that subscribe  button so that you don’t miss our updates!  While checking, hit the like  button and consider becoming a   WAI supporter for exclusive SpaceX updates. With it, you get access to daily Starbase   photo galleries, now including orbital,  aerial, and ground photos of SpaceX’s   progress and countless other extras on top. And no matter how much you decide to give,   Everyone gets the same supporter content and  access! You decide what you want to give!  Check our new website as well. Launch previews,  road closures, the latest weather report,   and our Multistream Viewer! The link to our Patreon page and the new website  

is in the description! Thanks to all the  supporters who help fulfill dreams for our   team! We can’t thank you enough! You rock! On we go with some very brave people!   After a three-week journey in space, the  Axiom 3 crew made their return to Earth!  Launched on January 18th, AX-3  was a mission of many firsts!  It was the first Dragon launch to host  an entirely European crew, including   the first Turkish astronaut - Alper Gezeravci This mission also represented the European Space   Agency's first use of commercial services to send  an astronaut to the International Space Station.  Adding to the list of firsts, Michael  Lopez-Alegria became the first astronaut to   travel aboard SpaceX’s Dragon for a second time. Initially slated for a two-week duration,   the capsule was scheduled for  a February 3rd splashdown. 

However, when returning from space,  safety is the number one priority.  Did you know that once the capsule lands in  the ocean, it has to be swiftly recovered,   meaning that the splashdown date and area  are highly dependent on weather conditions?  This is precisely why the return of the Axiom-3  crew was postponed until February 9th, effectively   extending their mission's length by 50% I wouldn’t complain too much if I   had to stay another week on the ISS… The question is whether the hefty 55 million   dollar per seat ticket accounts for such delays. Getting a 27 million dollar invoice right after   splashdown probably wouldn't  make for a happy customer!  The landing itself unfolded as smoothly  as expected, allowing the crew to reunite   with their loved ones shortly after. Looking ahead, Axiom's next private   mission to the ISS is scheduled for  the latter half of 2024, promising   more milestones in commercial spaceflight. Yet, the Dragon mission that will end up on  

a list of the most important launches of 2024  will definitely be the launch of Polaris Dawn.  The first in a trio of Polaris missions aimed at  expanding the horizon of private space endeavors.  Polaris Dawn is not just  another space tourist mission.  It's a bold step further into  commercial space exploration,   seeking to surpass the Inspiration4 altitude  of 585 kilometers or 364 miles by reaching   an apogee of 1400 kilometers or 869 miles. Moreover, Polaris Dawn will be the first mission   to test out direct communication between the  Dragon spacecraft and the Starlink constellation.  Yet, the highlight of this  mission that has everyone   buzzing is the first commercial spacewalk. Equipped with specialized pressure suits,  

the astronauts aboard Dragon will  depressurize the capsule, allowing   at least one crew member to venture outside. This will be an ambitious and dangerous mission,   but that’s what space exploration is about.  Pushing the boundaries of what’s possible!  Initially slated for 2023, the launch of  Polaris Dawn was later postponed to early 2024. Now, the official Not Earlier Than date was set to  summer 2024, to give the crews more time to make   sure that the mission is as safe as possible. No one likes to see delays, but it’s always   better to wait a few months than to sacrifice  the crew’s safety just to meet the deadlines. 

Turning our gaze to deep space, we find  Voyager 1, humanity's most distant probe,   nearly 163 astronomical units away from the  Sun. That’s 163 times the distance from our   Sun to where you are right now. And 46 years after its launch,   Voyager 1 is showing signs of age. Although it had continued to send  

scientific data back well into 2023, something  went terribly wrong back in December.  Did you know that Voyager relies on  three onboard computers known as the   Flight Data System, or FDS for short? This system was designed to gather   scientific and spacecraft health data and then  combine it into a single information package.  All this is then sent to Earth via a Telemetry  Modulation Unit, allowing us to receive that data.  Recently, however, the FDS  has encountered an issue.  The data stream received by mission engineers  has turned into a repetitive sequence of ones   and zeros, meaning that Voyager 1  stopped providing scientific data. 

In an attempt to rectify the issue, the team  at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory resorted   to the age-old troubleshooting  tactic of rebooting the system.  Unfortunately, this time, it didn’t work… Luckily, Voyager 1 remains responsive   to commands sent from Earth, so  there may still be a workaround   that would remotely fix the onboard computer. Remember that people at JPL are known for solving   problems even when the situation appears hopeless. On the other hand, complicating matters is the  

fact that the Voyager probes - developed in the  early 1970s - were not designed with emergency   plans stretching so far into the future. Obviously…  The mission's unprecedented duration - now the  longest in human history - is way beyond the   original expectations of its creators. Another hurdle is the insane distance   Voyager 1 has traveled from Earth. Commands take over 22.5 hours at   light speed to reach the spacecraft,  meaning that sending a simple "Hello"   message and getting a response takes 45 hours. Consequently, each attempt at troubleshooting   involves nearly two days of waiting to  see if the command resulted in any change.  As we await the outcome of JPL's efforts to  revive Voyager 1, it's worth appreciating   the insane engineering of this mission. Even if this turns out to be the end of  

Voyager, it still lasted over 46  years in space. Let that sink in! That’s it for today! Remember to smash  that like button. Subscribe for more   awesome content! This is what fuels the  Algorithm and helps us immensely! Check   out our epic shirts in your favorite space  nerd store! Link is in the description.   And if you want to train your space IQ even  further, watch this video next to continue   your journey! Thank you very much for watching,  and we’ll see you again in the next episode!

2024-02-15 22:26

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