SpaceX has reached another major milestone in its fully reusable Starship launch system: it has stacked the Starship spacecraft itself on a prototype of its Super Heavy Booster, which itself is loaded with a full complement of 29 Raptor rocket engines, and which Starship has on top six itself. The stacked spacecraft now represents the tallest assembled rocket ever developed in history.
This stacking, which took place at SpaceX’s South Texas development site, is a significant development as it is the first time that the two elements of the full Starship system have been merged into one. This is the configuration that will be used for the launch of the next Starship prototype on its test mission, which will hopefully reach orbit.
Taken together, the massive combined launch system reaches a height of nearly 400 feet (about 390 feet more specifically), and when combined with the orbital launch stand it rests on, the whole thing is about 475 feet tall, which is taller than the Great Pyramid of Giza.
The stacking itself is impressive, but don’t expect it to last: the likely next step is to have the two halves of the launch system re-separated, both of which are to be re-assembled in preparation for further work, analysis, and testing are subjected to any actual orbital launch test.
It is not yet clear when the orbital launch test will actually take place. It will take some time to dismantle, test, and reassemble, but the company is definitely still aiming to get this done before the end of the year.
Stream up from NASASpaceflight.