The latest SpaceX Starship The prototype caught fire three times today (Jan.13), apparently keeping the car on track for a high-altitude test flight in the near future.
The three-engine SN9 vehicle performed its second, third and fourth “static fire” tests in rapid succession today (Jan.13) at SpaceX facilities in South Texas, near the village of Boca Chica on the Gulf Coast. The engines lit up briefly at 1:28 PM EST (1828 GMT), again at 3:22 PM EST (2022 GMT) and then again at 4:36 PM EDT United States (2136 GMT).
During stationary fires, the engines ignite briefly while the vehicle remains restricted to the ground. SN9 already had one such test under his belt, after Complete a short steady fire on January 6.
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“All 3 static fires are finished and there are no RUD units!” SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk He said via Twitter This afternoon. (RUD is an acronym for “unscheduled quick disassemble,” Musk’s favorite euphemism for “bang”).
Separation and Inspection Now. Good progress towards Leap and Go to Mars! ” Target ” Another tweet.
Dismantle and inspect now. Good progress towards “Jump and Go to Mars!” Goal.January 13, 2021
These tests are part of the preparations for the SN9 launch, which will take to the skies in the coming days or weeks if things go according to plan. The SN9 flight is expected to be the same Conducted last month by its predecessor, SN8, which flew about 7.8 miles (12.5 kilometers) across southern Texas sky.
SN8 is no more; It fell very quickly and exploded in its intended landing zone. But the car pretty much checked all the other funds, prompting SpaceX’s founder and CEO Elon Musk To announce the test mission on December 9 – the Starship’s first high-altitude flight – wow.
SpaceX It is developing the Starship to transport people and payloads to the Moon, Mars, and other distant destinations. The transportation system consists of two reusable components: a 165-foot (50 meters) spacecraft called the Starship and a giant rocket known as Super Heavy.
The Starship and Super Heavy will both be powered by Raptor’s next-generation SpaceX engine. Musk said the final Starship vehicle will have six Raptors, and Super Heavy will have about 30 engines.
The Starship will be powerful enough to launch itself from the Moon and Mars, but it will need Super Heavy’s help to exit our even more massive planet. (After acquiring the Starship in Earth’s orbit, the Super Heavy will return to Earth for a vertical landing, Ideally directly on the launch pad.)
Musk laid out an ambitious timeline for the Starship, stating that the system should begin launching people to Mars by 2026 and Even in 2024 If we are lucky. So expect testing in South Texas to increase dramatically in the coming months and years.
We could see another static fire or two before SN9 goes up high. SN8 had four stationary fires over the course of about a month before it started, after all. Tests like these are closely monitored by Starship monitors such as the Tourism website Spadre.com.
Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 5:20 PM EST on January 13th to include news of the third still fire of the day.
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.