Finally, the fifth prototype Starship SpaceX successfully ignited its lone Raptor engine in a test known as static fire, paving the way for the first full-scale Starship flight this weekend.
After nearly three weeks of delays and several canceled attempts, SpaceX was able to fix various relatively minor bugs in the device, described by CEO Elon Musk on July 28. The first static fire attempt was originally scheduled for July 10, and it gradually slipped a few days before July 25. Thus began another series of delays after static fire attempts – with different progress in each – were interrupted on July 25, 27 (x2) and on the morning of the 30th.
Fortunately, though, these abortions and scrubs and delays are finally over ̵1; at least for now. If all goes according to plan over the next few days, and the teams are able to fix a critical issue identified earlier this week, Starship SN5 could be the first full-scale scale to be shot (intentionally) in just a few days.
Prior to the successful July 30th Starship SN5 static fire, Musk tweeted that the second missile attempt was interrupted on July 27 after Hurricane Hannah damaged a connector allegedly linked to telemetry and control. SpaceX fixed the problem and managed to stretch the test window for a few hours, allowing a second attempt later that night.
Unfortunately, the static fire of Starship was again cleared by what Musk later called a key fuel that could not be opened, as well as “some weird” [behavior]”Observed in a pump connected to the steering equipment of the Raptor engine. To finish the static fire, as SpaceX will go in two days, the bizarre” fuel pump “had to be completely fixed, but problems with the Raptor thrust vector pump (TVC) could be presumably postponed.
Given that SpaceX spent about 2.5 days inspecting and repairing Starship after the third static fire, it is likely that they managed to correct any errors that stringed the TVC Raptor hydraulic system. Even so, the Raptor TV will need to work flawlessly before SpaceX moves forward with the first full-scale Starship flight test. The 150-meter jump will be the first prototype of the “Star Ship” of about the same size – and built of the same materials – as an orbital class ship will try to control the flight.
Before the static fire on July 30, SpaceX had already submitted several temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) – used to warn aviators about the shutdown zone – along with the FAA for attempts to test the horse on August 2 and 3. SpaceX will probably take 12-24 hours to analyze the data, check the Starship and determine the time scale for the first attempt to jump, but there is at least a small chance that the company will be able to take off on the Starship SN5 this Sunday. Keep an eye on how things are going, and the hop test gets a more specific date.
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