Video: SpaceX delayed by launch pad hydraulics failureKevin J. Harrigan | September 04, 2022
On August 6, a hydraulics failure occurred at the SpaceX launch pad in Brownsville, Texas, on the company's "chopsticks" robot arms. These robotic arms assemble launch vehicles at the launch pad, and also catch first stage boosters for reuse. A video of them in action is below.
Company executive Elon Musk confirmed the failure with a tweet, "I love the smell of hydraulics fluid in the morning."
The SpaceX team is preparing the site for the first orbital launch and test flight of Booster 7, which is the most powerful launch booster ever created, featuring a staggering 33 Raptor 2 engines, each of which produces 230 tons of thrust.
As a result of the hydraulics failure, work was delayed by one day, and assembly of the booster was completed by crane. Nonetheless, the company was able to resume its engine testing program within a few days. On August 9, Booster 7 test fired one engine, and Ship 24 fired two of its six Raptor engines. Then on August 11, SpaceX conducted a long burn on the Booster 7, firing one of the engines for 20 seconds to collect data on autogenous pressurization.
Finally, on August 31, the company completed the first multi-engine static fire on Booster 7. The company will continue to conduct test fires as part of their safety and launch protocol.
Although there is no word about U.S. Federal Aviation Administration approval for the pending launch, the company expects to conduct an orbital launch this year or early next. The program would see Booster 7 and Ship 24 take off from the company's site; the booster would land in the Gulf of Mexico, while Ship 24 would circle the Earth and splashdown near Hawaii.