KEY POINTS

  • Heavy work is going into the project of SpaceX Starship on the dome part in Boca Chica
  • CEO Elon Musk tweeted how he spent time with SpaceX engineers working on the dome
  • After the data from Starship Mk1’s burst in November, there is a bigger focus on the dome

Heavy work is going into SpaceX's Starship in Boca Chica, Texas. This was borne by a tweet of CEO Elon Musk. 

Musk tweeted about his hard work all night with SpaceX engineers in getting the dome part of the Starship’s Mk3 prototype ready for production.

The video Musk posted also showed the sheets of steel have been assembled into the dome. This implies that SpaceX have completed the bulk of the first dome prototype using a new process in just two weeks.

Musk considers Starship’s tank dome the “most difficult part of its primary structure” because making a giant propellant tank dome that is light as well as strong is highly challenging. 

Technicians have spared extra care in building up an additional dome using a different method of integration. 

Starship Mk1’s failure in November end has been explained as an intentional overpressure exercise. It pressed the vehicle’s tanks deliberately beyond design limits to assess the structural viability. 

Teslarati noted that some hardware of the Starship tank was shipped to Texas from Florida in December. After the failure of the MK1 prototype in November end, SpaceX put more attention in building and reenforcingthe dome hardware.

Insights from Starship MK1 over-pressuring 

Rough calculations in Starship Mk1’s burst suggests it could have been pressurized to at least 60-75 PSI (pounds of force per square inch area) in the upper tank dome implying pressure at the lower domes and tank walls could have been much higher than that. 

According to the report, the data is encouraging as Mk1 performed better despite the ramshackle facilities and less sophisticated methods used in assembling it.

Musk had said Starship Mk1 had more than 200 tons empty weight while the goal was to have the spacecraft’s empty weight closer to 120 tons. That space could be saved by making the tank domes much lighter. 

Elon Musk, the Tesla CEO who quit Twitter last week for vague reasons, returned to the platform to discuss his space exploration firm SpaceX Elon Musk, the Tesla CEO who quit Twitter last week for vague reasons, returned to the platform to discuss his space exploration firm SpaceX Photo: AFP / Philip Pacheco