If things work in accordance with the plans, then the latest prototype from SpaceX’s moon-landing and Mars-conquering spaceship, Starship, will witness its first high-altitude test flight this month. The enormous spacecraft’s development site in Boca Chica, Texas is very over-occupied for the past few weeks due to preparation for the big test.
Starship is SpaceX’s conclusive rocket designed for interplanetary trips in the future. Two earlier preliminaries, Starship SN5 and SN6, attained considerable success while performing 500-foot-high (150 meters) hop in a test flight last month. The newest prototype, SN8, intends to fly up to 50,000 feet (9.3 miles) above sea level, making way for SpaceX’s next target to reach Earth’s orbit.
According to Elon Musk an orbit-reaching prototype called “V1.0” would be released before the end of October. According to his tweet, Starship update is expected in three weeks. The design has been integrated. What has been presented will, in reality, be what flies to orbit as V1.0 with almost zero changes.
A few smaller tests have to be conducted prior to SN8 taking off to the sky. The gigantic cylinder-shaped rocket, that weighs more than 150,000 pounds, was transported to the launch pad in Boca Chica and fixed into a ground support system on September 26. Weather-induced delays, compelled SN8 to be held on-site for four days before being taken onto one of the pad’s test stands. After that, the technicians initiated the process of installing the mount’s temporary hydraulic ram for simulating engine thrust to the rocket’s thrust puck.
As it is a common practice, SN8 requires to clear a proof test to ensure that the rocket which is charged with liquid nitrogen doesn’t leak under the pressure amounting to the thrust of three Raptor engines. SN8 will be the maiden Starship prototype to be fired up by three Raptor engines simultaneously, which would more than 600 metric tons i.e 1.3 million pound-force of thrust.
Following this, the rocket will be coupled with a nosecone and flaps and undergo two or more static fire tests with the original engines.
Presently, SpaceX is collecting extra Starship prototypes for more tests. The future model, Starship SN9, is now completely assembled inside the Boca Chica facility. Local reporters have caught sight of SN10 and SN11 too at the development site, but SpaceX hasn’t confirmed any updates on those projects.