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Part 2 of Elon Musk’s most recent tour of Starbase

Looking up from the bottom of the tower
Looking up from the bottom of the tower

Looking down from the top of the tower
Looking down from the top of the tower

Tim Dodd of Everyday Astronaut has now posted part two of his long and most recent tour of Starbase at Boca Chica with Elon Musk. This section is 33 minutes long, and takes us to the top of the new orbital launch tower that SpaceX will use to launch Starship and Superheavy, as well as eventually catch Superheavy upon its return.

Part 1 can be viewed here.

The two images to the right are screen captures from today’s tour.

I have embedded Part 2 below. It has the following interesting take-aways:

  • Musk: “At SpaceX, we specialize in converting the impossible into late.”
  • Musk and his engineers spent several minutes describing in detail how the tower’s chopsticks will work in conjunction with Superheavy as it comes down and the chopsticks grab it.
  • Musk also provided some details about the Starlink-2 satellites, explaining that it is impractical to launch them on Falcon 9, and thus Starship must become operational to fly them.
  • The tour not only stopped near the top of the tower to get a close look at the attachment points for the chopsticks, it went to the tower’s top, at 469 feet in the air, 106 feet taller than the Saturn-5 rocket.
  • In discussing how the economy is not zero sum, Musk revealed why he is at heart a conservative, and is slowly finding this out. That he still leaves out that forgotten word that makes this all possible, freedom, shows his journey is not quite complete.
  • Musk also added his thoughts on the importance of making human civilization multi-planetary. For him, it is really a question of survival.

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  • Diane E Wilson

    Best Elon quote ever: At SpaceX, we specialize in converting impossible into late.

  • Diane E. Wilson: Yup, I thought that line great as well. Wrote it down, but forgot to include it in the post. Thank you for mentioning it.

  • geoffc

    Great video. I wish he had asked more questions. I was yelling questions at the screen But honestly, if it had been I would have been just as tongue tied.

    However, I found it interesting how much wiring and plumbing is still ‘exposed’. It is one thing to use whatever protection for weather et al.

    This tower is going to spend 10+ seconds with 15 million lbs thrust exhaust walking up it, and that is an immense amount of heat.

    I am sure they will eventually add cladding to protect the front from the exhaust, but then consider what do you make cladding out of, that can take the hit from 15 million lbs of thrust going by.

    And of course, they are literally rocket scientists and think it will work, so I would bet on them, not on my piddly ideas. But I found it interesting. I would have expected more protections at this point.

  • Correction: top of this tower is ONE HUNDRED AND SIX feet taller than the Saturn V.

    Saturn V was 363 ft tall. This tower is 143 m = 469 ft.

    geoffc: Elon has mentioned that SH+SS will be very quick off the pad. Perhaps that’s why they don’t care so much about cladding to protect from exhaust.

  • Richard M


    I wish he had asked more questions. I was yelling questions at the screen But honestly, if it had been I would have been just as tongue tied.

    I had the same reaction. But Dodd noted on Reddit that at this point they were 2 hours into what was supposed to be a 1 hr interview, so he didn’t want to badger him too heavily with questions.

  • Richard M

    My biggest takeaway is just how much bigger Starlink 2 sats are going to be than Starlink 1.0 or 1.5. They’re 1.25 tons! That’s five times the size of the current generation (basically, a quarter ton). And to say nothing of the size (7 meters). I was fairly stunned by that.

    Makes it clearer why Musk is so insistent that Starship really IS essential for Starlink 2.0.

  • Steve Golson: Duh, you are right. I made the mistake of depending on my memory, but didn’t think about it carefully. The post is corrected.

  • I have decided this quote must be added to the post, and I have done so.

  • Ray Van Dune

    When you think about it, the launch table is fairly far away from the tower, with the chopsticks and QD arms allowing that, so combined with a rapid departure the destructive effects of the launch may be more tolerable than we might initially assume. In addition it would be like Elon to just say “Don’t worry too much about protection – let’s just see what gets fried, and cover that.

  • sippin_bourbon

    Tim Dodd does great work.

  • Edward

    Diane and Robert,
    I agree that is the best quote. I saw the interview before it was posted here, and the quote stuck in my head, too. This is how engineers make advances, turning the impossible into reality (on time or not).

    I was also impressed by the small size of the nubs (lifting lugs) attached to Super Heavy that the arms will catch. They are not a large target, and for them to work properly Super Heavy will have to have sub-meter accuracy in its final guidance. I’m not sure that autonomous airplanes have this level of accuracy when landing on runways, and a breeze could cause positional problems for such a tight fit.

    As for Tim Dodd being awesome, yes. He is not an engineer, so he has made sure to thoroughly research his topics before making his videos, and this shows in his knowledgeable questions when he interviews people. He knows what to ask and why he is asking.

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