Elon Musk Says Starship, SuperHeavy Will Have 41 Raptor Engines at Liftoff
Elon Musk tweeted over the weekend that SpaceX's Starship and Super Heavy launch craft (BFR) is likely to have as many as 41 Raptor engines at liftoff.
In his new Twitter update, the SpaceX CEO jokingly stated that Starship is also "begging for just one more," as well as providing details on the formidable spacecraft's launch structure.
Raw Raptor engine power
Elon Musk provided the update after a Tweeter asked him about specifications for the craft in a thread started by the SpaceX man:
Full stack is 41 rn, but kinda beggin for just one more …— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 21, 2019
As with any Musk tweet, it is not an official SpaceX statement.
Though the final build will likely be close to what Musk has tweeted, the company has yet to settle on official specifications for the Starship craft as they edge closer to the first liftoff.
A specialized launch structure
As Teslarati reports, with 6 Raptors on its upper stage (Starship) and 35 Raptors on the booster (Super Heavy), the rocket is set to be the most powerful space vehicle ever launched when it finally lifts off.
So much power will need a special launch structure capable of withstanding the force of so many Raptor engines without being obliterated. Musk also addressed this concern on Twitter:
Starship launch structure is being built off-site in steel subsections— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 20, 2019
2021 maiden voyage?
SpaceX’s vice president of commercial sales, Jonathan Hofeller, recently assured that Starship's maiden voyage will take place in 2021 — meaning that SpaceX engineers don't have a lot of time to settle on the final design.
Hofeller recently said, “the goal is to get orbital as quickly as possible, potentially even this year, with the full stack operational by the end of next year and then customers in early 2021.”
41 engines, or just one more? SpaceX will have to settle on a number soon if they hope to get Starship off the ground on schedule.