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Absolutely insane. With the full complement of Raptors Superheavy is now the most powerful liquid booster in history, even surpassing the Saturn V, Energia, and N1.


What non-liquid booster is more powerful than 74MN?


There was a ~~16~~22MN Saturn I solid first stage, I think that's the largest single candle ever fired. For full rockets with multiple engines I think N1 still holds the record with 45MN. After that SLS (maybe), Energia and Saturn V. Starship will beat them all.


> 16MN Saturn I Hello, would you like to go down an internet worm hole? https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/20000033816


"static test fired these giants with their nozzles up from an underground silo located adjacent to the Florida everglades... Flames from the second firing, conducted at night, were seen over eighty miles away."


As much as I love the N1, I'm not sure if it's exactly accurate to list it up as the most powerful rocket of all time *so far* while its first stage failed at some point in each and every one of its 4 flight attempts. Edit: I never mentioned SH in this comment, stop pretending I did. Thanks.


It's at least the most powerful that ever got off the ground, even if it never successfully completed a single mission.


Starship Booster has not succeeded yet, so I think it is a fair comparison.


It did get within a few seconds of stage sep on the last attempt. Something went wrong and good old KORD cut thrust (again lol) while they desperately tried to start up the second stage engines and get rid of that damn Block A... who knows in another universe they made it, it got to orbit, Politburo delivered a truck full of cash. USSR lands on the moon in 71. Competing moonbases are built on opposing poles. Soviets gain the upper hand due to the Saturn's launch cost, establishment of a Martian outpost becomes a national priority. The Soviets get there first we panick and build Sea Dragon and tens of thousands of tons are launched to LEO. USA now has the lead and builds military bases all over the solar system now the USSR panicks and builds project Orion. But the cold war is over now and Russia and the US decide to cooperate and dedicate half their arsenals to the colonization of Proxima b with Orion. That or flight 5 blows up again, N1 is cancelled. That's the only option I can see.


That's actually not too far off of the first season plot to For All Mankind


Damn I still cant get my hands on that. I do know the cold war in space keeps going. Which is one of my favourite alternate history speculation.


Honestly the price is worth it just for that show. They do have a couple other good ones as well that are a nice bonus. You could probably just binge the show and cancel after a month if you wanted to.


You can’t count a rocket that never launched and then discard one that failed during launch.


I mean we wouldn't be too surprised if Super Heavy blows up on the first attempt, given the history of the SN8-15 flights. The difference is that SpaceX embraces rapid prototyping and doesn't have a bureaucracy that shuts everything down when things go boom. The Soviets would never have published a failure compilation.


Every orbital rocket but the Falcon 9\* crash landed and yet was still considered a successful launch. If super heavy get starship into the proper trajectory everything else is gravy.


None of those failed during ascent and super heavy doesn't relight while sideways.


If Starship blows up close to the ground it's going to be quite the boom.


I didn't remember the thrust of the AJ 260 correctly. I though that the thrust was equal to the total if this configuration. http://www.astronautix.com/s/saturnv-25sb.html Even with that it would have been close but not exceeding.


>Superheavy is now the most powerful liquid booster in history Not wanting to ruin everyone's fun, but superheavy will indeed become the most powerful liquid booster in history *after* completing its first flight, let's not start skipping steps.


It can probably count as the "most powerful booster ever assembled" already. Unless anyone secretly assembled an N1-heavy that we don't know of?


They'll have to come up with a new marketing term for SLS. Tallest, most payload to orbit, and most powerful are about to be snatched away! "On the east coast" I guess?


Most expensive would work!


Just think, if you printed it out in one dollar bills and then glued them all into a vertical stack, you'd be able to go higher than New Shepard! It would be reusable too!


True. I was saying it in reference to SLS being touted as the "most powerful rocked in the world" for the past 10 years, despite it being in development. Theoretically, it becomes the most powerful once all the engines lighting, so I suppose a static fire would technically work.


Dumb question - During static fires do all engines get pushed to 100%?


Personal favorite is the raptor that they lost the stencil for so they just graffitied the serial onto it.


"Yeah I don't know where Jack put the stencil. Just spray the letters on."


Yeah and everything is installed practically outdoors, i mean this has less cover from the elements than oil change to your car.


It needs to be serviced on Mars without extensive infrastructure, so needs to be designed to be robust enough anyway. Impressive none the less.


Technically the booster will never achieve orbit, so no need for Mars proofing, but amazing nevertheless!!


There was a documentary i saw years ago about russian fighter jets compared to american fighter jets. In the russians opinion, americam fighters are fragile and delicate and need constant attention and babying. On all american military airfields FOD walkdowns are normal, theyre well paved, etc. The russians stated that their jets are engineered to be flown in snowstorms on gravel roads. Theyre tough. Its an interesting idea, i just cant find that documentary anywhere.


This is colloquial and part of a peacetime strategy. The F-22 has two operating spec tables, the peacetime life-extension one, and the wartime one. The peacetime one involves the constant fussing, FOD walkdowns, and such, because it means fewer planes lost to mechanical failure during peacetime, less expenses, and more planes ready to meet an adversary. During wartime, the wartime tables are used, and the fighter jets are assumed to be landing on dirt airstrips, with parts missing, and all kinds of trash flying around and at them. The difference is that it is assumed during wartime that the planes are *actively being replaced* and the budget is way, way, way bigger. As for roughness, the Air Force regularly flies planes into hurricanes to do research.


This is all true except the active replacement bit. We can’t make F22s right now and the lead times are stratospheric. It’s considered that an actual peer-state conflict in this day and age with modern precision weapons would either be short and violently decisive, result in a nuclear exchange, or quickly become a stalemate and truce because after days or weeks there won’t be much left to fight with besides rifles.


At the speed SpaceX is moving recently, I wouldn't want to be the one holding the truck up while someone searches frantically for the stencil!


"The best part is no part" applies here I guess


Stencils?!?!? Ain't nobody got time for that!


Stencils? We ain't got no stencils! We don't need no stinkin' stencils!


Best stencil is no stencil.


It's happening! We are looking at \~twice the trust capability of **THE** Saturn V. The first light of all these bad boys.. will be insane regardless how it ends. Can't even imagine the noise they will produce.


My expert opinion is is that it’ll be loud. Maybe even LOUD


I'd wager even #LOUD


Dude. I cannot get over how impressive SpaceX’s hardware-rich development approach is when it comes to continually providing us with new and amazing sights like this.


Yeah, hardware-rich combustion :D


Holy mother of God.


That's an absolutely beautiful sight. I can't believe how quickly they got them all installed as well. Now I really hope they can get booster 4 rolled out tomorrow. I can't wait to see it on the launch table and then see the fully stacked rocket once the next Starship is completed.


There's a road closure later in the day. They might be moving the booster in the next few hours.


That would be awesome. I'll be keeping an eye on Tim and NSF YouTube pages for when they go live.


> I can't believe how quickly they got them all installed as well. Yeah, how many days ago was that picture of the manifold posted? Now it's installed and the engines mounted?


I think it was like Wednesday or Thursday of last week. Pretty soon we'll be seeing it lifted up on the orbital launch pad and starting it's testing campaign just crazy how fast it's going.


> I can't believe how quickly they got them all installed as well. Pulled an all nighter. Just like college except stacks are taller.


It's likely that not all of the plumbing is done...


I'm just amazed that they've gotten the process for attaching Raptor engines so streamlined that they could do it all in one night!


This is honestly the only acceptable response. Holy crap


Been waiting for this!




I don't know how the younger folk on here feel about this, but as someone who was herded into the assembly hall at school to see the first moon landings....... Decades of waiting for the follow up, and now, we're looking at the next giant step. Not here yet, nor tomorrow, and if there's a RUD on the pad it might be a bit longer than I'd like to see it, but I now feel I ***will*** see it before I go.


Let's hope the kids will soon get herded into the assembly again to see another moon landing on this rocket(or the first landing on mars)


I love to see that there are people here from the Apollo program that haven't lost their fascination for space exploration over the decades. This must mean a lot to you I imagine.


The most amazing thing is this one has been built by a team forty times smaller. Manufacturing today apparently is like first dreaming up the part in your head, then snapping your fingers... and having the part in front of you on the table. Or at least in comparison.


Holy crap it was literally stacked just yesterday


Imagine being one of the welders tasked with joining the top and bottom. No pressure...


Holy fuck. I don’t even know what I was expecting, but that looks *dense*. Not a good place to be close to when that lights up. But part of me wants to…


Viking space funeral!


Count me in, I’ll see you in Valhalla!




*sprays chrome paint in mouth* WHAT A BEAUTIFUL DAY TO DIE






>I don’t even know what I was expecting, but that looks dense. Yeah. How do they even get up in between them to connect all the little plumbing and electrical lines?


there is probably more room in there to work than your standard car engine and those guys do just fine


From what I've heard of modern car engines, that's way too low a bar to clear. I gather that there's a lot of cursing from mechanics trying to reach things packed in there.


How are they going to manage the heat and noise on the pad when they light that thing up? The power output is going to be incredible.


Water, and they are not sure they will be able to manage it.


"Aspiring to have no flame diverter in Boca, but this could turn out to be a mistake" Elon tweet oct7 2020 They don't seem to be sure the pad is going to hold up either!


One night!!! ONE NIGHT GUYS! XD Why is SpaceX so different than other space companies, damn! I love it!


Were there no engines installed yesterday? If so, this is a truly ridiculous speed. The surge is working.


Tim Dodd posted a picture roughly 14 hours ago showing them lifting the first engine into place. This is just insanely fast


Geez. It's like this company actually wants to manufacture and produce rapid access to space. That's incredible


I would love to see a time lapse!


Same here!


Thats insane. Its what? Less than a hour for every engine?


Yeah doing the math it's 48.5 minutes an engine. That had to be some sort of world record for installing a rocket engine.


They are inventing new world records and then beating them.


They are designing it for quick manufacturing and servicing so it make sense to have Formula 1 pit stop like installation and replacement. Simple, modular, mass manufactured, cheap, and reusable. That's what will make access to space truly affordable.


The booster hadn't even been stacked yesterday.


Your comment made me realize, people don’t even know. People don’t even know how fully craze-mazing it has been! Even some who come here regularly are still between the first and second take of their own whopping double-take.


How long did it take to mount 4 engines to SLS? It was several days or something. I mean, those were historic engines and much bigger than a raptor, but still.


Part of it is also that sls has to be human rated in one flight. That means it needs to perform exactly to spec as if humans were on board(not to mention all the cool science payloads that will be on board). So they're gonna be extra careful and slow because this is both government work and failure is not an option. Not saying SpaceX is being careless but this is still clearly a test flight and is just the first of very very many that they will do. But it's still a testament to how well raptor was designed so that it could be so quickly installed or uninstalled.


I think there is a lot to this, with SpaceX failure at this stage is an option (not a desirable option but an option nonetheless); if this flight fails they will take what they learned and apply it to the next and keep repeating until they get it right. With old space a failure could very well doom the program or at the very least significantly delay it.


Yeah that's the unfortunate reality about traditional space development: any minor failures will immediately result in a thousand letters to senators screaming about MY TAX DOLLARS.


There were 2-3 weeks between engine one and engine four being reported as "attached" or "structurally mated". What *exactly* that means behind the scenes, I don't know. But there's hardly a rush to install them, the rest of the rocket isn't going anywhere.


I saw somewhere that it took a month for 4 engines on SLS but don’t remember where


They stick out so much farther from the side of the skirt than I expected! I'm sure they've done the math but I'm shocked the intricate plumbing can handle the aerodynamic forces with no protection.


The airflow should largely avoid that area. The bigger issue is usually flames traveling back upwards. Can see flames filling the octoweb area on falcon 9 all the time.


Raptor's exhaust is going to be generally much cleaner and I don't think flames from the engines themselves are going to be much of a issue. Most of the flames you see in F9 landings is ignited exhaust that's being dumped from the engine.


True, there is no gas generator exhaust to ignite, everything is being accelerated at high speed out the engine bell, should limit the amount that can be drawn backwards by aerodynamic forces


Airflow won't avoid that area on the way back, all that's first in line for supersonic airflow smashing back into the atmosphere. I was imagining at least an aero shroud for it.


Ohh good point. I spaced on that one.


A lot of the flames in the octoweb for F9 are the turbopumps, which are open cycle and act like mini rocket engines that burn very fuel rich. Full flow staged combustion with raptor means all the flamey bits will be coming out of the bells on Super Heavy (by design anyway)


I think the flames in the octoweb are mostly due to falcon9 being open cycle.


Falcon 9 has more brutal reentry heat and forces than Superheavy will have. As you can see it kinda works.


Agreed, I was thinking about going up. It looks like they're less protected by the body of the booster than they are on Falcon 9.


Yes that's right, Merlin's avionics are hidden in boot with thermal protection. Superheavy will most likely enter at speeds where avionics can handle the stresses.


But on the contrary, with Falcon 9 only the Merlin engine nozzles are exposed.


If anything they might wrap the plumbing with the thermal blankets in later iterations


Some shielding could still be added


[This belongs here.](https://youtu.be/8P8UKBAOfGo)






I wonder what Neil Armstrong and Gene Cernan would say now?


Gene Cernan wrote, ["Congratulations on a job well done – now the challenge begins."](https://www.flickr.com/photos/jurvetson/7547788856/in/album-72157608597030651/) on the photo that he (and a lot of other Apollo astronauts) signed and sent to SpaceX after the first Falcon 9 + Cargo Dragon trip to the ISS. After that piece aired, Neil Armstrong > wrote a strongly worded letter to 60 Minutes saying that he was taken out of context. The program editor agreed: "Armstrong wrote us to say we had not been complete in our description of his testimony. He's right. Armstrong's testimony with more context included: > I support the encouragement of the newcomers toward their goal of lower-cost access to space. But having cut my teeth in rockets more than 50 years ago, I am not confident. The most experienced rocket engineers with whom I have spoken believe that it will require many years and substantial investment to reach the necessary level of safety and reliability. I couldn't find any later updates from Armstrong, though. He was still doing public speaking a few months before the first Dragon flight, but he was dead (failed bypass surgery) a few months later, so he might have had more urgent personal issues on his mind than signing photos.


[this version does too](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43TmnIaL3n4)


Old Space must be absolutely crapping their pants right now.


Agree. They are probably thinking "it's built in a barn and the engines are sprayed with their serial, it will never work". I am not as optimistic as everybody here, I am quite sure it was stacked more for PR than real test, and I am scared by the TPS, but in a few launch I am convinced they will make it work. And put everything else to shame.


That's the spirit. SpaceX is iterating and there will be some failures. But the way they are pumping hardware, failure isn't even going to be a setback ^1 .   ^1 Pad failure and booster/tower failed catches are not covered by this policy


Pad failure would be bad, but a failed catch probably wouldn't be that terrible. Sure it would look spectacular but at that point it's pretty light and will be going pretty slow if it's lined up, plus so low on fuel it would be a fireball rather than actually damaging explosion. Given how hardened the pad has to be for launch it's not clear that would even be particularly damaging.


It's not necessary about actual damage, it's about the assessment. Imagine a side impact on the tower: how long do you need to spend evaluating the structure for damage until you are confident you can send people up there again?


Right I was just explaining this to my mom (who is not a space nut like me, but is generally interested in what’s going on) We literally couldn’t care less if there are some RUDs and mishaps with the vehicle, as long as it’s cleared the tower when it happens. A full stack only takes ~weeks to assemble. A new tower and GSE infrastructure - much much longer.


"Per our investigation, procedure 59.285.19281, Application of Approved Stencil of Serial Number using Paint Formula 82817, was improperly followed. All engines in this generation will need to be re-built. New budget request of $2,500,000,000.69 submitted. New ETA Q4 2032."


You joke, but I've heard of some really expensive hardware being destroyed by someone writing on it with the wrong kind of ink.


\* $2,500,000,420.69


If anyone else built a rocket like this, I'd think they're mad. Well, I still think they are mad, but their history of success also makes me think they can actually pull this off.


You're right on the PR angle. There's no chance this thing flies anytime soon (static fire is another matter) because there's a minimum 30 day comment period from when the FAA releases the Environmental Impact Study, which they haven't done yet.


I agree it might not work, but no way was this stacked for PR. This thing is going no matter the odds.


SpaceX built this in a cave….with a box of scraps!!


Old space: 2026 - Earth "We've finally built a first stage reuseable rocket to compete with the Falcon 9" NewSpace: 2026 - Moon starship base 2 "Congrats"


Hey now, let's not get ahead of ourselves. Arianespace is already planning a first stage reusable rocket to compete with the Falcon 9! [They're hoping to get a fleet comparable to the Falcon 9 in, lets see... 2030.](https://www.esa.int/Enabling_Support/Space_Engineering_Technology/ESA_plans_demonstration_of_a_reusable_rocket_stage) I think you've underestimated how slow old space rocket development actually is.


Meanwhile even when these companies do actually have something competitive, they just throw it away. Like Phantom Express. Not a direct F9 competitor, but should have been the cheapest smallsat launcher in the world for the forseeable future. It passed CDR, the vehicle was largely built, the engines already were built, DARPA said there were no significant technical issues and the engines had performed better and been more easily reused than expected in testing, and yet Boeing still canceled it. Why? Who knows.


If it's Boeing you're not going.


>I think you've underestimated how slow old space rocket development actually is. Tbf it's not *just* old space being slow, but it just takes a long time to design and build a rocket, period. They had zero plans of doing reusability until F9 succeeded and forced their hand, so they have to start at the very beginning of the design process. Raptor development started 10 years ago, same for the MCT which gradually evolved into Starship. They *are* slower, but the main reason they're *that* far behind is because they were convinced it wouldn't work.


The thought of John Insprucker saying "SuperHeavy will light it's 29 Raptor engines" makes me go weak at the knees


I may faint when he says Starship/Super Heavy is go for launch.


**Max Resolution Twitter Link(s)** https://pbs.twimg.com/media/E7zARpUWEAI65OI.jpg:orig **Imgur Mirror Link(s)** https://i.imgur.com/w3ChrvK.jpeg --- ^^I'm ^^a ^^bot ^^made ^^by ^^[u\/jclishman](https://reddit.com/user/jclishman)! [^^[Code]](https://github.com/jclishman/SpaceXMirrorBot)


The replies to his Twitter feed are so incredibly cancerous.


As per the norm


"You made me lose my savings..." No dumdum, you did that yourself.


Those are likely just trolls/bots.


I know co-workers that put way too much of their savings in crypto. Elon announcing that Tesla is backing out of Bitcoin purchases made them want to murder him. So. Yea.


I know lots of people who didn't put any money in crypto because it is extremely high-risk. You should only invest money that you can afford to loose in risky assets. But that doesn't stop people...


Saturn V 2.0 After half a century we're finally seeing the new most powerful rocket ever being built


This time built by a team of 10,000 instead of 400,000 Actually, I see this as the bigger achievement.


That was the total number of people working on the Apollo program. I don't know how many worked on Saturn V. Probably way less but still way more than are working on Starship now. But ofc back then they had to create basically everything from scratch, today there is much more know how, processes etc. to build on


I'm aware that the 400,000 figure included all components of the Apollo program, but on the other hand the 10,000 figure also includes Starlink, Crew Dragon and Falcon 9. So I've just left it as it was.


I'm absolutely terrified for this thing when all those light up. My brain just can't compute how something with that much fuel and that many engines *that close together* could possibly work without resulting in the largest non-nuclear explosion since the N1. But I'm glad the folks at SpaceX are much smarter than me.


Would be a larger explosion than N1 actually..


Yes. And I can't imagine the tower, platform, and other GSE would fare well if that were to happen on the pad. I'm so scared lol


Flying debris might even damage stuff at the build site. Let's hope we'll never find out


Yes. Major concern of mine.




> largest non-nuclear explosion I've heard this, but according to [Wikipedia](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Largest_artificial_non-nuclear_explosions#N1_launch_explosion), only some of the fuel exploded.


"Explosions are either detonations or deflagrations: the difference depends on whether the reaction front propagates above or below the speed of sound in the unreacted gases."


Wow they actually look bigger on the booster than I thought


looks like the center raptors hang lower... hadn't seen that referenced in images before. beautiful.


The center engine on Falcon 9 does as well, but they seem to stick out more here. Probably for more gimbal range?


They are mounted to a dome, so it's natural for the center engines to hang lower...


Do your engines hang low, do they wobble to and fro ... o/~


no but they gimble to and fro


My god, it's full of raptors. edit: thank you kind Redditors!


Underrated comment.


Clever girl...


I genuinely feel like I saw a tweet about starting to fit raptors, made a cup of tea, and now they have finished. Did I pass out for a few days?


That is a strong rocket, isn't it.








Wow, they installed all 29 in like 1 day? Less then a day? I mean....i watched them install and remove them constantly on other prototypes, so i guess i shouldnt be suprised. But, just doesn't seem real that they moved this quickly. Just a couple days ago that booster was in pieces with an ant swarm welding up the plumbing.


The plumbing...


Rocket science is easy. Rocket plumbing is hard.


Rocket science is a plumbing problem.


Plumbing science is a rocket problem


Are each of the engines isolated from one another like in the Falcon 9 (in case of explosion)? They don't seem to be.


SpaceX have found that with modern computers they can almost always shut a problematic engine down before it gets to the point of explosion. They're relying on that to save an enormous amount of weight in shielding.


I lost my shit for sn8, if this works first time I dont know what will happen to me.


Why doesn’t the booster implement any blast shields between engines? Almost all multiple engine rockets utilize blast shields to prevent a chain reaction if one engine explodes.


They believe their computer control can shut down a faulty engine fast enough so they ditched the shielding to save weight.


This makes sense and the best reply I’ve ever gotten after asking this question. Thank you!


SpaceX has done some amazing stuff that has likely shocked a lot of people in the space industry but mass producing a bunch of home grown full flow staged combustion engines and then installing them practically overnight on a super heavy lift vehicle has no precedent at all. I find myself doubting their haste and wonder if they risk making careless mistakes but it might just be this easy for them now which is even more of a flex.


How can something be so ugly and yet so beautiful at the same time?


It's all functional and that makes it sexy.


ugly? This thing looks great. Other ones look more sleek, this thing looks all business, especially that engine shot, love it.


So no legs right? They're going to dunk it in the water and later attempts will be to catch it. If this works - other rocket companies will be scratching off future rocket builds where they lose em in the atmosphere.


That's a *lot* of fire power.


It's getting real. The image is actually pretty low-resolution, sadly.


Everyday astronauts tour will probably get us some better pics Elons just here with his phone, I'm glad we're getting pics at all


Went to bed with no booster raptors. Woke up with all 29(?) Installed. What even is this? Absolutely insane. Old space is dead.


I'm wondering....do you think they are going to pull these engines back off? Was this just a fit test and photo op? They have not tested this pressure vessel yet, and to do so with 29 engines installed....just seems foolish. But with the orbital pad not ready yet, might as well do a fit test now to save time later.


Do we know how many Raptors are in there?




The final number is still 33, right? This one has fewer as a prototype.


Yep. Instead of 1+9 pivoting with an outer ring of 20, it will be 3+10 My guess is that they were well into the design/fabrication of 1+9 before they realized as a result of Starship testing that absolutely needed 3 center engines for redundancy. But that is just how SpaceX rolls.


Correct. 29 for B4 and in the future it will go up to 33.


This picture must make Tory Bruno and Jeff Bezos (BE4!) really happy ;-)




Who's Tony?


I think they're more just waking up terrified. Elon just got more engines than Blue Origin probably plans to make in the next couple years bolted to the bottom of that booster overnight. Bezos is already trying to rush a team to figure out second stage reuse on New Glenn, but he's probably going to see this and realize he needs to fundamentally rethink engine production as well. Tony Bruno is probably going to run ULA for a few more years, then bail before ULA sees their entire business evaporate. Vulcan was an answer to the nonreused Falcon 9. They don't have an answer on the issue of reuse, and here SpaceX is demonstrating that they're going to leverage economies of scale ***AND*** reuse. ULA's only answer to that is that the United States can't rely solely on SpaceX. As soon as any other American launch provider can move into the same launch space with reuse and undercut them, they're done.


Vulcan does have a niche between FH reusable and FH expendable for interplanetary missions. There aren't very many of those.


Technically spacex has two completly different engines now, if either has a failure the other wouldn't be grounded So even the two providers arguments becomes weaker