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SpaceX begins filling methane tanks at Starship launchsite in Texas

Capitalism in space: SpaceX has begun the slow process of filling the storage tanks at its launchpad in Boca Chica with the methane that will be used by its Starship and Superheavy rocket once launched.

To fill the two existing tanks, which may store enough methane to fuel a stacked Starship and Super Heavy about 4/5ths of the way, SpaceX will need around 40-50 more tanker deliveries. Since last November, SpaceX has completed more than 320 liquid nitrogen and 200 liquid oxygen deliveries – equivalent to about 6700 tons (~14.8M lb) of LN2 [liquid nitrogen] and 4200 tons (~9.3M lb) of LOx [liquid oxygen]. If SpaceX maintains that average and focuses entirely on LCH4 [methane], the two horizontal tanks could be filled to the brim before the end of February.

Having a substantial amount of [methane] stored at the orbital tank farm will finally allow SpaceX to attempt the first major wet dress rehearsals (WDRs) and, more importantly, the first full static fires with flightworthy Super Heavy booster prototypes. Of course, a tank farm with full supplies of LOx, LCH4, LN2, and their gaseous equivalents is also a necessity for the first orbital Starship launch attempt, which has most recently slipped from a target of mid-2021 to no earlier than (NET) Q2 2022, pending regulatory approval.

The article also notes that the way SpaceX built two vertical methane tanks at the launchpad appears in violation of Texas regulations, and might either need a waiver from the state or be rebuilt in order to be used. Subsequently the company has added two horizontal tanks that conform to regulations, and it is these tanks it is now filling. More tanks however will have to be added to give it the fuel needed for launch.


Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


All editions available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors. The ebook can be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner. Note that the price for the ebook, $3.99, goes up to $5.99 on September 1, 2022.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

One comment

  • Steve Richter

    Are Texas regulators more willing to work toward a solution when violations are detected than the Feds appear to be?

    Does the Governor of Texas have the authority to get everyone to work together so that the space port can operate safely, with all the approvals necessary? I am thinking that if the Governor can get the Texan equivalent of the FWS to signoff on superheavy launches then the FAA will have fewer reasons to object.


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