SpaceX loves to drop rocket production videos on the internet and run away, and we’ve got another hot one here from Elon Musk himself.
On Friday night, the company’s CEO and lead designer tweeted this video of a nozzle being manufactured.
It’s unclear how hot this thing gets or how many torches are being used, but we do know that it’ll most likely find a home at the business end of a Falcon 9 rocket, as one of nine Merlin engines. Each of these engines produce 190,000 pounds of thrust at liftoff, and up to 205,500 pounds as they haul ass out of the atmosphere. Musk didn't say where the video was taken, but it was most likely their Hawthorne, California facility, where—at least, as of 2013—more than 70 percent of each Falcon 9 rocket is manufactured. SpaceX also has a rocket-development facility in McGregor, Texas, where this gateway to Hades was opened:
A Merlin 1D engine is test fired at SpaceX's Rocket Development Facility in McGregor, Texas. Image: SpaceX/Wikimedia Commons
This is “the most efficient booster engine ever built,” according to the SpaceX product page, “while still maintaining the structural and thermal safety margins needed to carry astronauts.” In other words, it won’t cook humans on their way off-planet.
After a spectacular and costly explosion of a Falcon 9 rocket at Cape Canaveral in September, SpaceX announced this week that it hopes to launch again next month, carrying Iridium communications satellites to low-earth orbit.
In February, SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell said they’d begun ramping up production of rockets to meet new demands: “Now we’re in this factory transformation to go from building six or eight a year to about 18 cores a year. By the end of this year we should be at over 30 cores per year.” Time to start churning these suckers out and get us the hell off this planet.
from Watch How a SpaceX Rocket Nozzle Is Formed