On Wednesday the CEO
from the underside of the spaceship “SN8”, a prototype of the ship that is supposed to send people to Mars and beyond. This three-engine Raptor model is expected to fly to the highest altitude ever. While previous prototypes reached heights of up to 150 meters or 500 feet in “hop tests”, this is the case with SN8
Will be less roomy with 3 vacuum rocket engines added pic.twitter.com/pKtDFdiZYC— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 14, 2020
15 kilometers or around 50,000 feet.
First flight is to 15km or ~50,000 ft— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 26, 2020
The test could pave the way for Starship’s most ambitious missions. The stainless steel ship was designed to support missions similar to the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy. It’s also a fully reusable ship that can send up to 150 tons, or 100 people, into space at a time. Using liquid oxygen and methane propellants, astronauts can fly to Mars, use the planet’s resources for refueling, and either return home or continue on their way.
“Will be less spacious with 3 additional vacuum rocket motors,” Musk wrote on Twitter on Wednesday. Earlier prototypes used a single Raptor engine designed for use at sea level. The “SN8” shown in the picture contains three motors at sea level in a triangular configuration.
The final version is expected to include these three engines plus three larger raptors designed for use in the vacuum of space.
The ship, which is 30 feet wide and 160 feet high, is paired with the Super Heavy Booster to get off Earth. This makes the ship about 400 feet tall. The booster is expected to contain 28 Raptor engines.
A successful test for SN8 could mean the ship can continue more ambitious flights like an orbital launch. The prototype came together quickly:
- On August 11th, when Musk unveiled the fully completed “SN6” model, Musk announced that the “SN7” would be a test tank, while the SN8 would look more like a spaceship with flaps and nose cones.
- Am 18. August
The team built SN8.
That’s engine SN. We’re building SN8 of the ship.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 17, 2020
- Am 12. September
SN8 should be “ready in about a week”.
SN8 Starship with flaps & nosecone should be done in about a week. Then static fire, checkouts, static fire, fly to 60,000 ft & back.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 12, 2020
- On September 26, Musk shared a photo of the prototype with motorized hatchbacks. He also stated that the company will add the nose cone and front flaps in the following week.
- On October 9, Musk reported that SN8 had passed a cryo-proof test. This tests the ship’s ability to deal with the super cold fuel and pressures it will experience in space travel.
- NASASpaceflight reported Oct. 11 that SpaceX had begun installing the three Raptor engines that day.
From here, the ship is expected to undergo a series of tests. That, musk
would involve performing a static test fire on the three-engine machine. The team would then complete the tills, a second static fire, and finally the flight itself.
One way or another, excitement guaranteed! Support of greater Boca, Padre, Brownsville community is very much appreciated.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 12, 2020
The Inverse Analysis – The flight of SN8 could be one of the most impressive in terms of visual spectacle alone. It’s the first time SpaceX has flown a full-size spaceship with body flaps, nose cones, and the expected triple raptor formation. A little less farm silo, a little more flying spaceship.
SpaceX has yet to tackle orbital launch. At the September 2019 event, Musk claimed it would happen in a few months. SpaceX is likely to reveal more about this goal and other details at the event, which is expected later this month.
STARSHIP TRIP SUMMARY
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