Latest of SpaceX Starship The prototype fired its engine for the fourth time on Tuesday evening (November 24), putting the vehicle on track for a Landmark test flight the following week.
The Starship SN8 prototype performed its fourth “static fire” test at 6:23 pm EST (2323 GMT) on Tuesday at SpaceX’s South Texas facility, near the seaside village of Boca Chica.
Static fires, in which the engines fire briefly while a vehicle is grounded, are common preflight checkouts for the SpaceX rocket. And the SN8 (“serial number 8”) is actually ready for a flight – a test that would take it to a target altitude of 9 miles (15 kilometers), far exceeding any other starship prototype.
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Good starship SN8 static fire! Aim for the first 15 km / ~ 50k ft altitude flight next week. The goal is to test the transition of 3 engine accents, body flaps, main to header tanks and landing flips.November 24, 2020
Tuesday’s test targets SN8 for that milestone leap, founder and CEO of SpaceX Elon Musk What was said.
“Good starship SN8 static fire! Aim to fly at first 15 km / ~ 50k ft altitude next week. The goal is to test 3 engines climbing, body flaps, transition from main to header tanks and landing flips.” Musk tweeted Tuesday eveningAbout 45 minutes after the test takes place.
The starship is SpaceX’s next generation space transport system, which the company is developing to take people and payloads to Mars and the Moon, launch satellites into orbit and do everything else that SpaceX needs.
The final version will include a 165-foot-tall (50 m) spacecraft called the Starship and a giant rocket called Super Heavy, both fully reusable. The Starship and Super Heavy will be powered by SpaceX’s new Raptor engine, which burns liquid methane and liquid oxygen. Musk has said that the starship will sport six Raptors and that the Super Heavy will have around 30 engines.
The first Super Heavy prototype has not yet been built. But SpaceX has already built and tested several starship test vehicles, three of which have already taken flight. In the summer of 2019, a stubby craft called Starhopper took off, and in August and September respectively, the SN5 and SN6 broke away from the ground.
All of those prototypes had single-engine craft, and they reached a maximum height of about 500 feet (150 m). The SN8 will be much larger and therefore significantly different than its predecessors, stabilizing three raptors as well as a nose cone and body flap.
Starhopper, SN5 and SN6 participated in their brief test flights. Kasturi is not giving the SN8 great chances to do so, though he said it would not be an accident if the vehicle crashes and burns.
The last three static fires of SN8 occurred on 20 October. 10 November And Nov. 12. The third test did not go according to plan; The ignition of the wrappers shattered the upper layer of the test pad, increasing the amount of material in the engine bay and causing premature shutdown. Mentioned in a tweet last week.
But the SN8 quickly bounced back, and it would soon fly high, if all went according to plan.
Mike Wall is the author of “Out there“(Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Carl Tate), a book about the discovery of alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.