Cape Canaveral Updates

#1
Yazata Offline
With the FAA slow walking approvals for orbital launches from Boca Chica, attention is starting to shift to Cape Canaveral, which is nasa/space force turf where space launch approvals already exist. Here's the first of what promises to be a series of weekly aerial photography update videos of events at the Cape from nasaspaceflight.com, with particular emphasis on the 'new-space' private space companies.

This initial video features the land being cleared at Roberts Road, where it's expected that a second Starship manufacturing plant will be built. Unlike the rough and dusty tents at Starbase, this is expected to be a Tesla-style giga-factory. The video shows road improvements between Roberts Road and Pad 39A, where pile drilling for a new OLIT (orbital launch and integration tower) and a new Starship launch platform may have been completed. So while a second Starbase hasn't started to appear yet, preparatory work is happening at a fast pace.

It's expected that the HLS (Human Landing System) work will probably be centered at the Cape. It's possible that human spaceflight on Starships in general will be based there as well. The plan seems to be for Texas to continue to focus on producing test prototypes, and Florida to manufacture operational vehicles in quantity for the Moon and Mars. That's all speculative though. Watch this thread to see what develops in the future.

The video also shows aerial views of Blue's manufacturing facilities which are much more complete and are being expanded.


https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/AMUX67Ts-nk
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#2
Yazata Offline
(Feb 17, 2022 10:33 PM)Yazata Wrote: This initial video features the land being cleared at Roberts Road, where it's expected that a second Starship manufacturing plant will be built. Unlike the rough and dusty tents at Starbase, this is expected to be a Tesla-style giga-factory.

Here's a satellite image of Starbase with the outline of the future main Roberts Road factory building (the white square) superimposed on it. (Shape and size from the contractor's Cape Canaveral permit applications.) The new building will be much bigger than the three giant tents, the fourth machine shop tent, the Midbay and lots of concrete apron... combined. (The black circles are Starship rings and barrels shadows.) Land is being cleared for the new Florida factory and foundations are starting to be prepared as we speak.

(Image by Harry Stranger from twitter)


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[Image: FJneAB3UcAAyDNI?format=jpg&name=medium]

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#3
Yazata Offline
Here's the latest Cape Canaveral SpaceX and Blue Origin update

The most interesting recent news is that pieces of the first OLIT (Orbital Launch and Integration Tower) segment have arrived and tower assembly has begun at Roberts Road. Presumably each completed segment will be transported from there to Pad 39A where the tower is to be constructed.. There's also a big addition being constructed at the existing building at Roberts Road where recovered Falcon 9's are refurbished after each flight.

The video doesn't mention it, but talk is that SpaceX is proposing all kinds of new facilities around Cape Canaveral. There's Roberts Road and Pad 39A where ground preparation work continues. There's a proposal for a second Starship pad, to be called Pad 49 that's currently undergoing environmental assessments. There's plans for a new SpaceX propellant plant to the north of that. SpaceX might be asking to use part of the huge Saturn and Space Shuttle era VAB (Vertical Assembly Building) for its Starships. Other bays in the VAB are to be used by SLS but SLS doesn't need the whole thing. And additional Starship manufacturing plant is being rumored elsewhere on the grounds, not sure where. There's to be mission control and administrative buildings, all kinds of stuff. That's in addition to all the facilities scattered off Kennedy Space Center property like the "bakery" that manufactures the Starship thermal tiles and the maritime facilities at Port Canaveral where the landing ships JRTI and ASOG dock and Bob and Doug have their home port. And there's SLC 40 at adjoining Cape Canaveral Space Force Station that's a second pad used for Falcon 9 launches.

So SpaceX isn't kidding about expanding their operations at the Cape.


https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/g8VmqHwwMMI
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#4
Yazata Offline
Latest Cape Canaveral update video

Ground preparation and road work continue at Roberts road in advance of starting SpaceX's new Starship gigafactory plus two new high bays (both said to be the same design as the "wide bay" currently being completed at Starbase). Several new OLIT (Orbital Launch and Integration Tower) segments are being assembled at Roberts road before transport to Pad 39A and appear to be largely complete.

At Pad 39A the massive base of a new Starbase-style OLIT Tower is under construction and piles seemingly are complete in preparation for an Orbital Launch Pad beginning soon. Lots of work on a new tank farm is underway including work converting the Space Shuttle's big old spherical liquid hydrogen tank to liquid methane for Starship.

Meanwhile Blue is doing ground prep work for a major expansion of their already-large factory complex. And Blue's new second-stage test cell remains under construction.


https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/K2DDAPdoQyE
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#5
Yazata Offline
Latest Cape Canaveral update video

Foundation work continues on Roberts Road Starship factory and on foundations for an adjoining "Mega-Bay", a huge vertical assembly building believed to be similar to the one nearing completion at Starbase. Expansion of "Hanger X", the Falcon 9 and Dragon refurbishment facility appear to be completed and a big parking lot is going in.

At Pad 39A the base of a new OLIT tower is taking shape and some five tower segments are nearing completion at Roberts Road. Construction has started on the legs of an Orbital Launch Mount for Starships next to the site of the tower-to-be.

Over at Blue Origin, two large areas are clearly being prepared for large new factory buildings at their already extensive campus, but construction hasn't started yet. Their second stage test cell is nearing completion. This in particular bears watching, given Blue's "Project Jarvis" that proposes to build a smaller Starship-style reusable second stage to ride atop New Glenn. It has yet to appear, though a test tank for it is sitting out at Blue's pad where it has presumably been undergoing pressure testing. (Sadly there are no 24/7 live cams at Cape Canaveral like there are in Boca Chica.)


https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/c503o3V9tQo
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#6
Yazata Offline
Flyover photograph of Roberts Road by nasaspaceflight.com's Julia Bergeron from twitter.

Large building in the foreground is "Hanger X", the facility used for refurbishing flown Falcons and Crew Dragons. If you look just to its left, you can see a Falcon Heavy side booster, there in anticipation of the upcoming Falcon Heavy mission later this summer. The large area to the right of the building is destined to be a parking lot.

On the other side of the ponds four complete OLIT tower segments are visible with a fifth under construction. In the left background is the foundation work for the new Starship factory. Behind the left pond and to the left of the OLIT segments is where foundation work has started on a Starbase-style Mega-Bay vertical assembly building. It's believed that a second Mega-Bay will eventually go where the OLIT segments are now.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/FSpN7hmX0AAa...name=large
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