NASA Assessment Reveals SpaceX Super Heavy Starship Details

There is a 250 page draft from NASA with an environmental assessment of the SpaceX Super Heavy Starship that reveals new information about SpaceX technology.

Plan for 24 Launches Per Year

The SpaceX goal is to eventually launch Starship/Super Heavy approximately 24 times per year. As Starship/Super Heavy launches gradually increase to 24 launches per year, the number of launches of the Falcon would decrease. The Starship and Super Heavy would exceed the lift capabilities of the Falcon Heavy. Due to the higher lift capability, Starship/Super Heavy could launch more payloads and reduce the overall launch cadence when compared to Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy. This would increase the cost-effectiveness of the space industry. Starship/Super Heavy missions would include Lunar and Mars destinations, currently not supported by any other space vehicle, increased satellite payload missions, and human spaceflight. Missions could range from tests of the launch vehicle and ship, to cargo delivery. The manifest is incomplete at this time but would evolve as the rocket develops. There could be multiple launches in close succession required to support a single mission (i.e., Lunar Program sending multiple payloads to resupply). Prior to launch, during initial phases of Starship/Super Heavy development, SpaceX would perform rehearsals without propellants on the vehicle (dry) and rehearsals with propellants on the vehicle (wet) to verify full launch readiness. Dry and wet rehearsals were conducted during the development of the Falcon 9. A static fire test of the Super Heavy booster and the Starship would be performed prior to each launch. The static tests would be similar to that currently done for Falcon, with the booster held in place while engines are ignited to simulate the initial stage of launch. The test would be used to assess the performance of the Raptor engines prior to launch.

Landing pad 39A will get new structures and upgrades to existing facilities.

A new methane farm would accommodate a total capacity of approximately 2 million kg. Approximately 1.5 million kg of liquid nitrogen would also be stored in the methane farm. The liquid nitrogen is a cryogenic and would be used to cool the methane. The methane and nitrogen farm would require lighting similar to the existing RP-1 farm located at LC-39A. If a new methane flare stack is needed, the flare would be approximately 30 meters tall.

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