SpaceX has just launched its latest releases Starship Prototype, which keeps the car on track for this week’s high-altitude test flight.
Raptor’s three engines The SN11 spacecraft (“Serial No. 11”) caught fire today (March 22) at 9:56 a.m. EDT (1356 GMT) during a static fire test at SpaceX facilities in South Texas, near the village of Boca Chica on the Gulf Coast.
Stationary fire tests, in which the engines are lit while the craft remain anchored to the ground, are a standard initial screening for SpaceX missiles. The upcoming SN11 flight will take the stainless-steel vehicle to a maximum altitude of about 6.2 miles (10 kilometers). That unmanned flight could happen as early as Wednesday (March 24), according to Scheduled road closures in the Boca Chica area.
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SpaceX It is developing the Starship to transport people and cargo to the Moon, Mars, and other distant destinations. The architecture consists of two reusable components – a 165 feet (50 meters) spacecraft called the Starship and a giant stage 1 vehicle known as Super Heavy. Both vehicles will be powered by Raptor engines – six for the Starship engines and around 30 for Super Heavy engines.
Three prototypes of the spacecraft have already been flown into the sky on high-altitude test flights in the past few months. The SN8 and SN9 performed extremely well up until the descent, and they exploded when they hit the landing pad. The SN10, which flew on March 3, performed better: the prototype One piece fell off but it exploded after about eight minutes.
SpaceX will soon start Super Heavy mode during its paces as well. Last week, the company’s founder and CEO Elon Musk Unveiled the first ever Super Heavy, Which he described as a “production explorer.” The billionaire businessman said SpaceX’s next Super Heavy missile will actually fly.
We should expect a lot of Starship and Super Heavy tests in the coming weeks and months. Musk recently said that SpaceX aims to launch an orbital test flight with Starship this year, and that he expects the duo to be the spacecraft rocket. Fully functional by 2023.
SpaceX first attempted to light the Starship SN11 last Monday (15 Mar), but the steady shooting attempt was thwarted.
Mike Wall is the author ofAbroad“(Grand Central Publishing, 2018; drawing by Karl Tate), a book on the search for an alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.