It’s starting to look like SpaceX will try to take a 15 km (9.3 mi) jump test before Christmas! After two successful jumps of 150 meters (500 feet) using the SN5 And the SN6 Prototypes and engineers at SpaceX’s Boca Chica launch facility in South Texas rolled out the SN8 – the first Starship Prototype Three Raptor engines. But before the SN8 could conduct a high-altitude test flight, the engineers needed to run a static fire test.
This test is necessary to ensure that StarshipInternal plumbing can handle coolant fuel, which is the last milestone before Starship It can take a trip at high altitude. In the evening Tuesday 20 OctoberThe tenthThat’s exactly what they did! At 3:13 AM local time (01:13 AM PDT; 04:13 AM EDT), the SN8 fired the three Raptor engines and kept firing for several seconds in a row.
Although SpaceX has yet to release a statement about the test, the footage near the launch facility was captured by Mary McConnaughey of NASA Spaceflight (also known as. Embed a Tweet) He will indicate that he was successful. The video of the event (posted below) shows the engine igniting at 2h 27m 12s after several minutes of venting and remaining lit for several seconds.
With this milestone achieved, the company appears poised to take a historic 15 km (9.3 mi) jump test. At this point, it is most likely to happen before the end of October or early November. While the SN8 was receiving its three Raptor engines and preparing to test their launch, another team was busy assembling nose cones in another part of the facility.
Not since Starhopper The test vehicle was in active service Starship The prototype comes with a nose cone. However, this part was removed soon after Starhopper Blew in a fierce wind January 2019. The remainder, the single-motor lower, continued to conduct Restricted jump test, Followed by the first free flight jump test to 20 meters (~ 65 feet).
In August of 2019, these auditions culminated in 150 meters (~ 500 ft) jump test, an achievement that will only be completed again after a year with the SN5 and SN7 prototypes. Since then, development of SN8 has continued by leaps and bounds, which started with the kernel undergoing a series of proof tests (from October 6.The tenth Until October 8The tenth) To check stainless steel fuel tanks in preparation for static fire test.
What followed was the addition of large maneuvering flaps to the base section and nose cone. The nose cone was then attached by a lever to the SN8 fuselage on Thursday (22 OctAnd the), An event witnessed by many observers who took pictures and footage. Above is the time lapse video of the stacking process recorded by Embed a Tweet, Which was made using Live coverage 24 hours a day From the Boca Chica launch facility.
With nose cones and flaps installed, the car now looks like it’s finalized Starship Design for the first time. With its three motors, nose cone and integrated maneuver racks, the SN8 is about to attempt a 15 km (9.3 mi) test jump, which will includeIndented stomach“A maneuver that tests its ability to slide back to the landing site using the maneuvering surfaces alone.
According to Musk’s previous statements, SpaceX hopes to conduct a suborbital jump test at an altitude of 200 km (~ 125 mi) sometime next year. For this final test, the Starship It will feature six Raptor engines – three improved sea-level propulsion engines and three optimized space-vacuum engines. The company is also busy working on so heavy An element of the launch system, which will not be less than 28 Raptor engines.
Further reading: ArsTechnica