Elon Musk, owner of SpaceX, shared the process of his company making the Big Falcon Rocket, used to transport people to the Moon and Mars.
Simulation Big Falcon Rocket launches into space after separating from boosters. (Photo: SpaceX).
The announced Musk SpaceX will bring Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa flying around the Moon with the company’s Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) on September 17, according to Business Insider. During the event, Musk also revealed a new perspective drawing of the launch system along with several photographs of the operation within SpaceX’s spacecraft manufacturing yard in the port of Los Angeles, USA.
These are the first details of SpaceX’s rocket manufacturing process since April, when Musk posted a photo showing SpaceX building a spacecraft, using cylindrical tools more than 9 meters long and 12 meters long. meter. “The main tool for the BX space planetary BFR spacecraft,” wrote Musk on social network Instagram.
SpaceX tool used to manufacture BFR missiles. (Photo: SpaceX).
Experts in the aerospace industry identified photographs that have just released new information about how SpaceX built BFR missiles and the rapid progress of the project. “The fact that private companies and even government agencies develop rockets that reveal a lot about the hardware they are making is quite unusual. But what Musk wants to do is help the community catch up with him. When excited with certain hardware, Musk wanted to be as open and transparent as possible, “commented Marco Cáceres, senior aerospace analyst at Teal.
BFR missile shape. Video: SpaceX.
BFR was designed as a 39-storey high-rise building system, consisting of two parts: a nearly 55-meter-tall spacecraft from head to tail and a 70-meter high rocket used to transport ships into orbit. According to Musk, spacecraft is the hardest part to build in the system, so SpaceX made its prototype first.
Musk’s intention was to launch a spacecraft into orbit and refuel the ship as the vehicle circled the Earth. Next, the ship can fire the engine, fly into space, land on Mars, then take off from Mars and fly back to Earth. Because it is designed to be 100% reusable, the system can perform the flight route multiple times. In 2016, Musk said SpaceX is building a system from high-grade carbon fiber, which is harder than steel, but only 1/5 lighter.
One of the new photos shared by Musk on September 17 captures a worker inside a round tube with spokes and many edges. This is the inside of the cylindrical tool that was revealed by Musk earlier this year, called the center axis. Robots overlap each strand of carbon fiber around the center axis to create an empty part more than 9 meters wide of the spacecraft. Carbon fiber is dipped through epoxy resin like glue, then heated to harden the compound.
In the picture below is the image of the hollow body after separating from the center axis. The circular dome on the left seems to be part of the propellant fuel tank also made of carbon fiber compound. The strands of carbon fiber are in the form of shuttle fibers. But Steve Nutt, professor of chemistry, aerospace and mechanical engineering at the University of Southern California, thinks SpaceX engineers are wrapping the shaft with unwoven fibers.
According to Nutt, the unwoven fiber provides “the highest hardness and durability” because they are not easily twisted or wrinkled (can weaken the texture). They also maximize the amount of super durable carbon fiber compared to epoxy resin. Nutt commented “what they are doing is quite smart”.
Carbon fiber will shrink when heated and harden, so Nutt speculates that SpaceX may be using very large plastic bags and suck up the air to squeeze the fibers. But you don’t know how SpaceX heats up every part. “Many structures are too big to apply the method, so they can use ‘thermal blanket’,” said Nutt.
Cáceres, who has been studying aerospace industry for decades, commented on the new photos highlighting the grand scale of the project. “This may be the biggest challenge I have ever seen since the Saturn V rocket technically. I have never seen anything this big.”, Cáceres shared. Even New Glenn, heavy reusable boosters made by Jeff Bezos of Blue Origin, cannot match.
Earlier, Cáceres estimated that the BFR development program would cost about $ 5 billion and Musk also made a similar estimate when announcing Maezawa’s role in the Moon travel mission. If the launch of the BFR rocket to the Moon in 2023 is successful, the result will confirm SpaceX’s ability. “This project is not like a fever game. It’s like a test launch,” Cáceres concluded.
Currently, NASA is building a giant missile that uses Space Launch System once, which could cost more than $ 20 billion to develop and cost about $ 1 billion each launch. Meanwhile, SpaceX’s BFR missiles only cost tens of millions of dollars to fuel and launch.
“People can’t ask ‘Musk to just play. He has achieved a lot in a short time. When I went to trade shows 10 years ago, I asked Boeing and other companies about SpaceX, they rolled their eyes and said, “That company won’t be able to stay long.” Now SpaceX is a big company in the industry, “Cáceres shares.