SpaceX isn’t racing to get its giant Starship rocket into orbit for the first time.
That distinctive orbital test flight will likely include the Booster 7 and Ship 24, two prototype vehicles that were stacked together Last week on top of the orbital launch pad at Starbase, SpaceX’s facility in southern Texas.
SpaceX He has already run a number of tests on Booster 7 and Ship 24, but more awaits Starship The duo before they can fly — and the company plans to check the remaining squares in a calculated way.
“We are proceeding with great caution. If there is a RUD on the platform, the progress of the Starship will be delayed by about 6 months,” SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk Tweet on Sunday (Opens in a new tab) (October 16), using his favorite euphemism for bang. (RUD is an acronym for Unscheduled Rapid Disassembly.)
video: SpaceX ignites multiple engines on Starship Super Heavy for the first time
SpaceX has already conducted short “static shooting” tests with both the Ship 24 and Booster 7, firing their Raptor engines while keeping the vehicles grounded. In fact, the company has caught fire All six of the ship’s raptors 24 same time.
But the Booster 7’s consistent fires included only a handful of 33 Raptors in the car at one time. None of its ignition occurred while the ship 24 was sitting on top of it.
The coming weeks will likely see a variety of tests featuring the full Starship collection. The fuel trials will pave the way for increasingly ambitious stationary fires, which will likely culminate in the launch of the full 33 Booster 7 engines, such as Note NASASpaceflight.com (Opens in a new tab).
The upcoming orbital test flight will send Ship 24 around Earth at once, concluding with a splash of water off the Hawaiian island of Kauai. (Booster 7 would descend shortly after takeoff, making its own waves in the Gulf of Mexico off the Texas coast.)
Elon Musk Expressed confidence that the mission can be launched As soon as next month. But SpaceX doesn’t owe such a strict schedule, as Sunday’s tweet makes clear.
Although the Starship is still in development, a number of customers have already signed up to use the massive vehicle. Starship will be NASA’s first manned lander Artemis program To explore the moon, for example. The company has arranged two special missions in the spacecraft around the moon, the second was Just announced last week.
Mike Wall is the author of “Abroad (Opens in a new tab)Book (Great Grand Publishing House, 2018; illustrated by Carl Tate), a book on the search for extraterrestrials. Follow him on Twitter Tweet embed (Opens in a new tab). Follow us on Twitter Tweet embed (Opens in a new tab) or on Facebook (Opens in a new tab).
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