After clearing several attempts of weather problems, technical problems and even breaking the range through a nearby ship, SpaceX on Thursday was able to test the latest prototype of its vehicle Starship.
At 15:02 local time in South Texas, one Raptor engine attached to the Starship prototype, called Serial Number 5, or SN5, came to life within seconds. In a video shared by NASASpaceflight.com, the test turned out to be nominal, which obviously gives SpaceX engineers the confidence they need in the latest iteration of Starship.
Starship SN5 has just finished full static fire. Soon he jumps 150m.
– Elon Musk (@elonmusk) on July 30, 2020
Shortly after the test, SpaceX founder and chief engineer Elon Musk confirmed that static fire meant the company now planned to move forward with a short test flight of the vehicle. According to the US Federal Aviation Administration, this 150-meter field test may take place on Sunday, with the opening of the launch window at 8 am local time (13:00 UTC).
This would be the first flight test of Starship equipment since the stubborn prototype Starhopper – up to 150 meters in late August 2019. This test, in which one Raptor engine drove the car up and to the side about 100 meters before landing, was successful. demonstrating thrust and vector control of a methane engine.
Since then, SpaceX has created several full-scale prototypes, losing them in various arrays of fuel and pressure tests. Thanks to an iterative testing program like the one used by SpaceX to develop Starship, the company decided to take some reasonable level of risk to move quickly.
And that’s what SpaceX does. Over the past eight months, he has built an impressive factory in South Texas and has begun to displace Starship prototypes. Its engineers and technicians have reduced the time to build a single Starcraft from month to week, bringing the company closer to Mask’s ultimate goal of mass-producing large, interplanetary spacecraft that could one day allow humans to inhabit Mars.
Even as SpaceX deploys the SN5 through its steps on the test bench, the site has pieces of equipment for several future prototypes, including models that will use a new, tougher steel alloy. Eventually, SpaceX plans to move one of these latest prototypes about 20 km, possibly later this year.
The company is then expected to focus on completing the first phase of a super-heavy rocket system called “Super Heavy”, which will be used to launch the Starcraft into low Earth orbit.