At approximately 3:13 pm CDT, 20 October, Starship serial number 8 (SN8) successfully fired three Raptor engines two hours after completing the first successful three-engine preburner test. With zero direct human intervention, SpaceX remotely separated the rocket’s cryogenic liquid methane and oxygen propellant – the remains are now too hot to be reused in a controlled manner. In an hour or less, SpaceX engineers combed through the produced data and concluded that all three Raptor engines were healthy after their partially ignited test.
Effectively reset to a steady state, SpaceX once again proceeded to load the propellant tanks of the starship SN8 with a small amount of supercycled LOX and LCH4, almost reflecting the preburner test Was. About 50 minutes after the recycle began and 25 minutes after the propellant loading stopped, the Starship SN8 ignited three Raptors simultaneously – a major milestone for any rocket engine. The static fire is now complete, with the Starship SN8 approved to become the first operational prototype to reach its full 50 m (~ 165 ft) height.
Shortly before Musk confirmed the success of SN8’s static fire, SpaceX canceled the October 20 static fire window and closed several new roads on Wednesday, October 21. Unlike the company’s recent static fire closures, all of which lasted from 9pm to 6pm, SpaceX’s new Wednesday closures are scheduled at 7am to noon and 3pm to 5pm local (CDT).
While a minor data point, Closer alone made it clear that SpaceX planned to start installing the starship SN8’s Encocene on 21 October, in the context of the success of the steady fire of the Starship SN8. Musk confirmed that the notion was published hours after those road closures.
this Completely The obvious but most observers are assuming that Wednesday’s 7 am-12pm window is needed to transport a large, new crane ~ 2 miles between SpaceX’s Boca Chica factory and launch facilities. The stacked nose section of the Starship SN8 will then be installed on the same self-propelled mobile transporters (SPMT) and rolled onto the launch pad from 3pm to 5pm, after which the nose will be lifted and the Stars SN8 will be stopped.
SpaceX has already completely stacked a starship prototype once before when the Mk1’s nose section was temporarily placed in the center of CEO Elon Musk’s October 2019 starship event in its tank section. It is unclear why SpaceX would not use one of the mobile cranes hired for the Starship tank section operation (and the stacking MK1) in the past, so it remains to be seen if Wednesday’s road closures are actually used. Will be done.
SpaceX’s road closure plan ends with a wildcard, though. Once installed, the plan is to demonstrate a second triple-raptor static fire, while drawing only propellant from the SN8’s header tanks – small internal tanks designed to hold landing propellants, one of which Located at the tip of the starship’s Nosenone. On October 21 and 22, SpaceX still has two 9 pm-6pm scheduled for “SN8 Static Fire” testing. Quickly filed on October 20 before the SN8’s successful static fire, the most likely explanation is a simple clerical error or miscommunication, with Cameron County or SpaceX failing to communicate properly that the subsequent static There is no need for fire test windows now.
If the static fire closure was done intentionally, it would mean that SpaceX – at Musk’s insistence – intended to install the Nosecon of the starship SN8 in just a few hours. It is almost incomprehensible that the starship SN8’s Nosecon – crafted with multiple gas thrusters, flaps powered by Tesla Motors, a liquid oxygen header tank, vents, and lots of plumbing – was tested in less than 12 hours. Can be designed and installed. Except for a surprise method of mating the SN8’s nose and tank sections, the nosecone must be welded to the rest of the SN8 and the weld must be inspected – usually a multi-day process.
Despite this, given how fast SpaceX moves and how dead-set CEO Elon Musk is to break boundaries and break down barriers, it seems reasonable that Starship SN8 could be fully integrated and just days later May be ready for a second static fire test. . Once complete, the SN8 will be ready to attempt the starship’s first high-altitude flight test, an untied Skydiver-style descent and ~ 15 km (~ 9.3 mi) to attempt landing. Will begin