SpaceX plans to launch its latest Starship prototype rocket « next week », CEO Elon Musk said Tuesday would be the company’s most ambitious flight test of the rocket to date.
Musk confirmed that the Starship prototype Serial Number 8 or SN8 successfully completed a test fire of its three engines prior to attempting flight. This next start aims to reach an altitude of around 50. 000 feet away. well above the 500-foot flights of the prototype’s predecessors, SN5 and SN6, which completed flight tests in August. 5 and Sept. . 3.
The prototypes are made of stainless steel and represent the first versions of the rocket that Musk introduced last year. The company is developing Starship with the aim of bringing cargo and up to 100 people simultaneously on missions to the moon and Mars.
« The goal is to test 3 engine risers, body flaps, transition from main to storage tank & Landing Flip, » Musk said in a tweet.
When asked what he thought of the chances of the Starship prototype landing intact after the flight, Musk gave the SN8 slim chances of complete success on the first try.
These later prototypes are already in the works at SpaceX’s growing facility in Boca Chica, Texas. While the SpaceX fleet of Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy missiles are partially reusable, Musk’s goal is to make Starship fully reusable. Imagine a missile that is more like an airliner, with short turnaround times between flights where the only major cost is fuel.
Musk said the SN9 and SN10 have « many small improvements » with « major upgrades » planned once SpaceX begins work on the prototype SN15.
After SpaceX launched two NASA astronauts on its first crewed mission in May, Musk drew the company’s attention, stating that Starship development was SpaceX’s top priority. Musk said in an email received from CNBC that Starship’s program needs to be accelerated « dramatically and immediately ». «
Last year, Musk said that Starship could potentially fly humans in 2020, but he has since recognized that the rocket still has many milestones, including « hundreds of missions », before it does. SpaceX believes that Starship’s first orbital flight test won’t take place until next year.
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SpaceX, Elon Musk, tests of launch vehicle systems, SpaceX launch site South Texas
World news – AU – SpaceX is planning a test flight with Starship for next week, which Elon Musk gives 1-in – 3 chances of winning intact
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