SpaceX Building a Third Mechazilla Launch Tower

SpaceX Building a Third Mechazilla Launch Tower

Felix Schlang of What About It? has identified that are six out of seven Mechazilla segments in Florida. The Mechazilla segments will be shipped by barge from Florida to Texas Boca Chica. A second Mechazilla tower will be built at Boca Chica.

The first Mechazilla tower was built at Starbase but there is no room at this time.

In July 2020, Lone Star Mineral Development LLC, a subsidiary of SpaceX, bought two semi-submersible drilling rigs from Valaris plc for US$3.5 million each. They were renamed Deimos and Phobos after the two moons of Mars. In February 2022, Musk indicated that one of the two platforms would have a launch tower installed by the end of the year. The projected timelines for making the oil platforms operational launch and landing facilities have been missed.

The ENSCO 8506 offshore semi-submersible drilling rig in the Port of Galveston, Texas, in the Gulf of Mexico.

The metal launch tower segments are not that expensive. The launch towers have the robotic arms and power to operate them.

The NASA SLS launch tower cost about $1 billion. It seems likely that the SpaceX Mechazilla launch towers and the oil rig launch towers cost less than $100 million each.

SpaceX will have six operational launch facilities soon and perhaps seven launch towers when the oil rigs are completed. As of 2023, SpaceX operates four launch facilities: Cape Canaveral Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40), Vandenberg Space Force Base Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E), Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A), and Brownsville South Texas Launch Site. There will be two launch towers at Boca Chica.

SpaceX currently operates a West Coast launch site located at Vandenberg Space Force Base Space Launch Complex 4 in order to deliver satellites to polar or Sun-synchronous orbits with Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launches.

SpaceX broke ground at Vandenberg in July 2011. A 2011 estimate showed that the project was expected to cost between $20 to $30 million for the first 24 months of construction and operation; thereafter, operational costs were expected to be $5–10 million per year.

SpaceX should eventually have similar numbers of launch towers as the number of Super Heavy Starships. This is if they are launching once an hour. If they are launching multiple Starships and Super Heavy Boosters from the same launch tower then they will need to have systems to rapidly transport a booster or Starship off the tower and far enough away for another booster to be placed for launch.

Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.