Completion of Full Stack Testing by SpaceX and Ongoing Transformations at Starbase

SpaceX has successfully completed a Wet Dress Rehearsal (WDR) of Ship 25 and Booster 9, along with other systems tests, in preparation for an upcoming test flight. After resolving issues between the ship and booster, SpaceX restacked Ship 25 and conducted a rare Sunday test in which the full stack was loaded with Liquid Nitrogen (LN2) and Liquid Oxygen (LOX). This allowed for the testing of various subsystems, including the Ship engine chill down, grid fins, Reaction Control System (RCS) thrusters, and Booster engine purge. Ground tests were also conducted on the FireX system and the water deluge.

During the WDR, SpaceX loaded the full stack with nearly 5,000 tons of LOX and Liquid Methane (LCH4). The stack was then put through a full launch countdown until the activation of the FireX system. Once the stack was mostly detanked, another test of the water deluge was conducted. With full stack testing completed, SpaceX is now waiting for regulatory approval from the US Fish and Wildlife Service before the final sign-off from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Ship 25 was destacked on October 26, which tied it with Ship 24 for the most stacks and restacks. This will be the final destack until regulatory approval is received and the Flight Termination System (FTS) is armed. Ship 26 completed a single engine static fire on October 20, simulating a deorbit burn. The launch site LR11000 was then moved to Ship 26 and connected to the ship. Ship 26 was transported back to the Production Site on Friday.

In terms of infrastructure improvements at Starbase, SpaceX has been rebuilding the Ground Service Equipment (GSE) building at Sanchez, adding insulation to control the inside temperature. A trench has also been dug along the eastern border of Sanchez for laying conduit to allow for electrical cables to run through to the substation. The Propellant Production plant at Sanchez is being dismantled, although it is unclear if that’s for upgrades or if propellant production has been discontinued.

At the Production Site, work on the new Starfactory is progressing, with the roof for the taller sections almost complete. Footings for the next phase are ready to be poured, and elevator shafts are being installed in the back corners of the new High Bay. The entire solar farm in Boca Chica Village has been removed as the production site now runs on local power. Foundations have also been started for new houses in the village for SpaceX workers.

Over at Masseys, Booster 11 has undergone two cryogenic proof tests with the booster thrust ram stand. There are also several test tanks, including the new Elliptical Dome (Edome) test tank. At the launch site, a new parking lot has been constructed behind Suborbital Pad B, and pipe stands are being built for new tanks to be installed where the old landing pad was.

Starbase is continuously evolving and improving as SpaceX refines its processes for building and maintaining ships and boosters. With full stack testing completed, SpaceX is one step closer to its upcoming test flight, pending regulatory approval. As the production site expands and infrastructure improvements are made, Starbase is poised to support future vehicle cadence for SpaceX’s ambitious space exploration endeavors.