Aug. 6 (UPI) — SpaceX briefly constructed the largest rocket ever made Friday, attaching the U.S. aerospace company’s Starship spacecraft to the Super Heavy booster at its facility in Texas.
The combined height of the structure was 400 feet, nearly 40 feet taller than the next largest Saturn V rocket built by NASA.
The SpaceX rocket, though, will have about twice as much thrust as Saturn V, 70 meganewtons compared to 25 meganewtons.
SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk tweeted photos of the feat, saying it was “an honor to work with such a great team.”
The two segments were connected at the Starbase R&D facility in Boca Chica, Texas, for about an hour Friday before workers took them apart again. The company used a large crane to put the two pieces together.
Pending Federal Aviation Administration approval, SpaceX plans to send the Starship into space aboard the Super Heavy for a single orbit around Earth in the coming months. Both segments will be ditched into the ocean, but the company plans to have controlled landings on land or aboard a sea platform so they can be reused, similar to its Falcon 9 rocket.
In May, SpaceX conducted its first successful launch and landing of the Starship, which will serve as a vehicle for moon and Mars landings. All previous tests ended in fiery explosions.
NASA selected the Starship to land astronauts on the moon as part of the planned Artemis missions. SpaceX also has sold a private flight around the moon using Starship to Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, scheduled for early 2023.
Paul Brinkmann contributed to this report