After examining several attempts for violations several times due to weather concerns, technical issues and even a nearby boat, SpaceX on Thursday succeeded in testing the latest prototype of its Starship vehicle.
In South Texas at 3:02 pm local time, the single raptor engine attached to the starship prototype dubbed serial number 5 or SN5, roaring for life for a few seconds. In a video shared by NASASpaceflight.com, the test appears to be nominal, clearly convincing SpaceX engineers that they need the latest iteration of the starship.
The starship SN5 just did a full-time static fire. 150m soon.
– Elon Musk (@elonmusk) 30 July 2020
Shortly after the test, SpaceX founder and chief engineer, Elon Musk, confirmed that the static fire meant the company now plans to proceed with the vehicle’s short test flight. Based on a notification from the US Federal Aviation Administration, this 150-meter flight test may take place as early as Sunday, with a window opening at 8 am (13:00 UTC) local time.
This will be the first flight test for Starship hardware since the stubbyotype in late August 2019 – Starhopper up to a distance of 150 meters. This test, in which the single raptor engine powered the vehicle upward and later for about 100 meters before landing, was successful. In displaying thrust and vector control of methane-fuel engines.
Since then, SpaceX has built several full-scale prototypes, losing them to a different array of refueling and pressure tests. With an iterative testing program similar to the one SpaceX is using to develop the starship, the company has chosen to accept some reasonable level of risk to move faster.
And SpaceX is doing just that. In the last eight months, it has built an impressive factory in South Texas and started churning out the Starship prototype. Its engineers and technicians have reduced the time it takes to build a single starship from months to weeks, bringing the company closer to the ultimate goal of mass production of musk, the large, interplanetary spacecraft that will one day bring humans to Mars Can allow to resettle.
Even as SpaceX is putting the SN5 through its paces on a test stand, there are bits of hardware on site for many future prototypes, including models that will use a new, tougher steel alloy. Finally, SpaceX expected one of these later prototypes to be around 20 km, probably later this year.
After that point, the company hopes to focus on completing the first phase of the launch system, a rocket called “Super Heavy” that will be used to bring the starship into low Earth orbit.