Fantastic Drone Footage Shows Off Massive SpaceX Tower That Will Launch Humans To Mars
Elon Musk took to Twitter to show off SpaceX's "Mechzilla" that will be used to launch its Starship spacecraft atop the Super Heavy booster rocket. The launchpad will first be utilized for upcoming NASA missions that look to put humans back on the surface of the moon, and eventually trips to Mars.
SpaceX has been preparing its Super Heavy booster and Starship spacecraft for upcoming NASA Artemis missions. In November of last year, the six raptor engines of its Starship SN20 rocket prototype were tested and created a gorgeous explosive show. On Sunday, Elon Musk shared on his Twitter feed some fantastic footage captured from a drone of the launch tower he has dubbed, "Mechzilla".
SpaceX has been busy this month prepping "Mechzilla" as it recently placed the building-sized arms on top of the launch tower. Since then, SpaceX has performed a variety of tests that included opening and closing the arms. The facility is designed to not only launch the massive rocket, but also catch it upon its return.
While SpaceX has been very successful with its rocket recovery system with the Falcon 9, this will be a different type of recovery. The Falcon 9 lands on either a land-based pad or a drone ship at sea, utilizing its legs to steady itself while landing. "Mechzilla" will negate the need for the legs as it returns to Earth. However, Musk stated in 2021 that the legs would still be necessary for landing on Mars and other planets until the time a facility could be built on those locations.
Mechzilla will more than likely be the launch pad used for all of those missions. The enormous construction stands about 400 feet tall when paired with the Super Heavy booster, and is designed to launch over 100 tons or 100 people into space at one time. The tower is used to place the 160-foot-tall Starship on top of the 230-foot-tall Super Heavy booster to prepare the two for flight. The booster will carry the ship away from Earth's gravity, then release the ship to continue on its trips to the Moon and beyond.
"Mechzilla" will be the center of many incredible and exhilarating moments in the future as SpaceX and NASA begin launching missions to the Moon and Mars. It marks the beginning of a new chapter in space exploration as humankind attempts to place more than spacecraft on the surface of other celestial objects. Where this will all take us is yet to be seen, except in the imagination of those who will work toward taking us there.