‘Mechazilla’ is the nickname you will receive the gigantic robotic arm which will retrieve the SpaceX rockets, all from the same launch tower. Beyond the curious name coined by Elon Musk, it will be a work of engineering, with a total of three arms that will be capable of catching rockets in motion.
On October 20, the SpaceX teams installed the Mechazilla mechanical arms, as we have seen in a video shared by NASA. This monster is closer to being a reality, although it will not be used in the first Starship launch, scheduled for next year.
Retrieving the rockets from a gigantic mechanical arm
— Erc X (@ErcXspace) August 13, 2021
SpaceX wants to launch its gigantic Starship into space, traveling aboard the colossal Super Heavy Booster. To recover the rocket, the idea is to achieve something that had not been achieved to date: catch it with the launch tower itself. How to achieve this? With a gigantic metallic claw incorporated in said tower under the name of ‘Mechazilla’, in honor of Mechagodzilla.
This gigantic mechanical arm will pick up SpaceX rockets landing on the fly, like a gigantic claw holding them.
With this they want to ensure that it is not necessary for their largest rocket to date to have landing legs, reduce weight and save a lot of timeas it is expected to be able to pick up the rocket and complete the process in less than an hour.
In the same way, the precision of this mechanical arm will be well above the use of parachutes on the rocket, also minimizing the effects of the wind on landing.
On October 20, SpaceX teams in Boca Chica finally installed Mechazilla’s mechanical arms, leaving us impressive images through the NASA channel. These arms will catch the rockets with high precision, acting as a claw that catches the rocket literally on the fly. According to Elon Musk, they will try to pick up “the largest flying object ever with robotic arms.”
The arms are ready, but there are no images on their operation. However, some time ago a render went viral on the net showing its possible operation, to which Elon Musk replied that “it was very close (referring to operation), although the arms will move faster.”
This arm is expected to use in the second launch of Starship into orbit, without risking to use it in the first launch since, an error in the landing of the Booster could generate an explosion of the tower.