On August 4, SpaceX successfully discontinued a full-scale starship prototype (serial number 5 or SN5) for the first time, just shy of a year before reaching the same 150-meter (~ 500 ft) apogie starhopper. Has gone. On 3 September, just 30 days later, the Starship SN6 – a completely different prototype with a different Raptor engine – completed a similar 150-meter hop, though Musk noted It was “a very smooth and fast operation”. Indeed, the whole purpose of doing the same hop with two nearly identical ships was to develop and adapt the nascent process of starship flight testing.
Musk indicated that “several” miniature hops would be strongly demonstrated that the SN5, SN6, or both ships would be flying for a second time. Now, however, Musk – supported by a NASASpaceflight.com report – appears to suggest that the first high-altitude starship (SN8) is ahead on the ducket.
According to NASASpaceflight, SpaceX is now working towards the first high-altitude launch of the starship SN8 in early October. Prior to that ambitious test flight, however, several important milestones stand in the way. Dissatisfied, the starship test tank SN7.1 could be hours away from kicking off cryogenic stress testing critical to the future of the starship SN8 and many of its successors. Manufactured from steel alloys at cryogenic temperatures, which are somewhat more ductile and feasible, a successful SN7.1 stress test will open the door for the SN8 – the first full-scale prototype made of the same new alloy – to begin testing shortly thereafter. for .
As with all tests, however, failure is a strong possibility and will likely require more analysis of the new steel alloy and some level redesign for many of the affected starship components. In that event, the Starship SN8 would likely serve as a test tank instead of becoming the first high-altitude flying article. Testing of SN7.1 is set to begin no earlier than (NET) 9pm CDT (UTC-5) on 14 September and can continue all the way until 23 September.
Meanwhile, SpaceX is working around the clock to ship out the starship SN8 and a noscan section known as the flap and the installation of four aerodynamic control surfaces. Unlike the Starship Mk1, which was temporarily crafted with a flap and was a noscon as a full-size mockup compared to the flight article, there is a very real chance that the Starship SN8 may actually have its nose and flap Will do a flight test with.
Unlike the Space Shuttle or other proposed spaceplanes, SpaceX’s current starship design incorporates flaps to ensure aerodynamic stability, while free-falling belly-first through the atmosphere, arms and legs to run through the air. Is similar to a skydiver.
If Musk’s schedule is accurate, the Starship SN8 could be fully outfitted with a noscan and flaps and is ready to roll to the launch pad for testing early next week. Prior to the first 20 km (~ 12.5 mi) hop and skydiver-style landing attempt, Musk says SpaceX will put the SN8 through a steady fire test (possibly the first with three Raptor engines). If it survives, the rocket will be carefully inspected before performing a second static fire test. If that second test is successful, the SN8 will eventually be cleared for the first high-altitude launch and landing attempt of the starship.
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