The spaceship SpaceX passes the static fire test with three raptor...

The spaceship SpaceX passes the static fire test with three raptor...
The spaceship SpaceX passes the static fire test with three raptor...

Photo credit: @BocaChicaGal

It looks like SpaceX is trying to run the 15-kilometer hop test before Christmas. After two successful 150-meter jumps with the prototypes SN5 and SN6, the engineers at SpaceX’s Boca Chica launch site in South Texas introduced the SN8 – the first Starship prototype with three Raptor engines. Before the SN8 could perform a test flight at high altitude, the engineers had to perform a static fire test.

This test is critical to ensure that the spaceship’s interior fittings can handle its cryogenic propellants. It is the last milestone before the spaceship can fly high. On the evening of October 20th, they did just that. At 3:13 a.m. local time (1:13 a.m. PDT; 4:13 a.m. EDT), the SN8 ignited its three Raptor engines and fired them for several seconds.

Although SpaceX has not yet released an explanation of the test, the footage recorded by Mary McConnaughey (AKA @BocaChicaGal) from NASA Spaceflight near the launch site suggests it was a success. The video of the event shows the engine igniting after a few minutes of venting at 2 a.m., 27 minutes and 12 seconds and remaining lit for a few seconds.

With this milestone, the company appears ready to conduct the historic 15-kilometer hop test. At this point, this should happen before the end of October or early November. While the SN8 received its three Raptor engines and was preparing to test them out, another team was busy assembling the nose cone in a different part of the facility.






A Starship prototype with a nose cone has not been delivered since the Starhopper test vehicle was in active service. However, this segment was removed shortly after the Starhopper overturned in high winds in January 2019. What was left, the single-engine lower section, performed a tethered hop test, followed by an initial free-flight hop test to 20 meters (~ 65 feet).

In August 2019, these tests culminated in a 150-meter hop test, which could only be carried out again a year later with the prototypes SN5 and SN7. Since then, the development of the SN8 has made rapid progress. The core underwent a series of proof tests (October 6-8) to validate its stainless steel fuel tanks in preparation for its static fire test.

What followed was the addition of the large maneuvering flaps to the core section and the nose cone. The nose cone was then attached to the SN8 fuselage using a crane on Thursday (October 22), an event that was watched by multiple observers who took pictures and footage.






With the nose cone and flaps installed, the vehicle now looks like the final Starship design for the first time. With its three motors, nose cone and built-in maneuvering flaps, the SN8 is ready to attempt its 15 kilometer hop test, which includes a “belly flop” maneuver that tests its ability to slide backwards and its landing site with just its maneuvering areas.

According to earlier statements by Musk, SpaceX is hoping to conduct a suborbital hop test at an altitude of 200 kilometers sometime next year. For this final test, the spaceship will be equipped with six Raptor engines – three optimized thrust at sea level and three optimized for the vacuum of space. The company is also working on the Super Heavy element of the launch system, which will have no fewer than 28 Raptor engines.


SpaceX is almost ready to test the third Starship prototype


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Quote: The spaceship SpaceX passes the static fire test with three birds of prey motors and finally receives the nose cone (2020, October 26th), which was announced on October 26th, 2020 from https://phys.org/news/2020-10-spacex-starship-static -raptor-nose .html

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