The research and development of SpaceX’s B5 super-heavy booster are progressing rapidly, which indicates that the space company will be in a position to use two super-heavy boosters. SpaceX finished assembling the main structural component of the high booster on November 19.
Two days ago, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk shared a photo of the B4 heavy booster, saying that “(B4 booster) has 5443 tons of thrust when launched.” The B4 booster is slowly entering the test preparation phase, and now that the B5 booster is on the verge of completion, the company will soon need to make the decision on which one of the boosters it will use for the first orbital flight test of the interstellar spacecraft.
The B5 booster can very soon join the progress made by the B4 once the two parts of the B5 booster are welded together. In recent weeks, technicians have been occupied with installing housing for the cables, and fuel lines and installing a heat shield around the rocket engine, which means that the entire outer booster ring of the 20 Raptor engines will be fitted with heat shields.
SpaceX’s other rocket booster for the Falcon rocket performs three-engine “re-ignition” for about 30 seconds during recovery; however, the case seems to be different for the heavy boosters as the company has revealed it will not perform the same “re-ignition” process. SpaceX is hoping that this will save them a dozen tons of fuel while also ensuring that the recovery is more efficient.
As of November 17, the SpaceX technicians have completed the reinstallation of 29 raptor engines for the B4 booster along with some engine heat shields. However, the company still needs a few more weeks to complete the full installation of the heat shield and install seven aviation covers for the B4 booster. As for the B5 booster, most of the external pipes, cables and equipment racks have already been installed. SpaceX has revealed that it may take the B5 booster 4 to 6 weeks to enter the test preparation state.