Elon Musk’s impressive celestial side hustle makes headlines almost every day, whether for yeeting commercial payloads into orbit or spectacularly fluffing Starship landings. Still there’s an aspect to his operation which all-too frequently gets overlooked, even by Musk’s vast army of international followers. Yes, although the ins and outs of SpaceX launches are obsessively pored over by the faithful, the actual humdrum business of getting rockets to the launch pad isn’t dwelt upon nearly enough.
So we thought we’d investigate. Join us now as we pull up to the launchpad and initiate a countdown sequence for a look at how SpaceX transports its rockets.
Before we get to the exciting, cutting-edge Starship programme, let’s look at how the company’s Falcon 9 rockets have traditionally been shunted around. Falcon 9 is after all the workhorse of the entire SpaceX operation, launching a record 26 successful missions in 2020 alone. Indeed, it’s probably fair to say Falcon 9’s quiet competence single-handedly keeps the company solvent, and soothes the jangled nerves of investors who might otherwise be freaked out by footage of Starship’s less-than-stellar recent touchdowns.
How SpaceX Transports Its Rockets
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Imagery supplied via Getty Images