SpaceX Installs First ‘Mechazilla’ Arm to Starship Launch Tower [VIDEO]

Image: NASASpaceFlight

In his recent recap of space industry events on YouTube, Marcus House detailed SpaceX’s installation of the Quick-Disconnect (QD) swing arm to its Starship launch tower.

YouTube video

Back in July, SpaceX successfully erected the roughly 475 ft (145m) tall launch tower, designed to support orbital launches of its Starship spacecraft, at its Boca Chica, Texas launchpad after assembling nine prefabricated sections of heavy-duty bolted steel.

Soon after the launch tower was ready, SpaceX stacked its Starship vessel atop Booster B4 for the very first time.

The launch tower is supposed to function as the foundation/backbone of ‘Mechazilla’ — a contraption comprised of three gigantic mechanical arms that SpaceX CEO Elon Musk says, once completed, will be able to “catch” reusable Super Heavy boosters and Starship vessels, and stack them again for another launch.

The newly installed QD arm is the first of Mechazilla’s three arms to be deployed, with the other two still in production. The QD arm will serve a number of purposes, including:

  • Stabilizing the booster rocket during the stacking procedure, and anchoring the fully stacked spacecraft after.
  • Loading fuel, oxidizer, and other consumers onto Starships through a quick-disconnect umbilical connector attached to the vessels’ base.
  • Connecting Starships to power, networking, and ground support equipment.

The two remaining Mechazilla arms are going to be much less standard in nature — they’re meant to catch Starships and reusable boosters mid-flight, and also stack them onto each other with precision.