SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has confirmed that Starship and Raptor’s first triple-engine steady fire was a success, opening the door for Nosecon installation.
CDT, Starship Series No. 8 (SN8) Successfully October 3, 3:13 p.m. Fired three Raptor engines Within two hours of completing the first successful three-engine preburner test. With zero direct human intervention, SpaceX split the rocket’s cryogenic liquid methane and oxygen at a distance – the remnants are now too hot to be reused in a controlled manner. Within an hour, together with data produced by SpaceX engineers, all three Raptor engines were determined to be healthy after their partial ignition test.
To effectively reset to a steady state, SpaceX began reloading the Starship SN8’s thrust tanks with smaller Supercool Locks and LCH4, which accurately mirrored the Preburner test. About 50 minutes after the recycling began and 25 minutes after the impulse loading kicked in, the Starship SN8 ignited three raptors simultaneously – a major milestone for any rocket engine. The standard fire is now complete, and the Starship SN8 has become the first operational prototype to reach its full 50 m (~ 165 ft) height.
Shortly before Musk could confirm SN8’s sustainable fire success, SpaceX canceled the standard fire window on October 20 and planned several new road closures on Wednesday, October 21st. Unlike the company’s latest standard fire closures, one of them ran from 9pm to 6am, with SpaceX’s new Wednesday closures scheduled locally from 7am to noon and from 3pm to 5pm (CDT).
A small data point made it clear that in the wake of Starship SN8’s consistent fire success, the closures only made it clear that SpaceX planned to start installing Starship SN8’s Noscon on October 21st. Musk confirmed the assumption just hours after the road closures were released.
not that Absolutely Clear but most viewers consider the window to be open Wednesday morning from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m., carrying a large new crane 2 miles between SpaceX’s Boca Chica factory and launch facility. The stacked nose section of the Starship SN8 is then installed on the same self-propelled mobile transporters (SPMTs) and rolled on the launch pad from 3pm to 5pm, after which the nose lift is stacked on the Starship SN8 .
SpaceX has only once stacked a Starship prototype when the nose part of the MK1 was temporarily fitted to its tank area as the centerpiece of CEO Elon Musk’s October 2019 Starship event. It is unclear why SpaceX will not use one of the mobile cranes hired in the past for starship tank division operations (and for stacking MK1), so it remains to be seen what the road closures will actually be used for on Wednesday.
However, SpaceX’s road closure plans end with the wild card. Once installed, the SN8 plans to make a second triple-raptor fixed fire while drawing only propulsion from the title tanks – small internal tanks designed to hold the ground propulsion, one of which is located at the noscon of the starship. On October 21 and 22, SpaceX is still closed for two nights from 9 to 6 p.m., scheduled for the “SN8 sustainable fire” test. Filed in early October 20, before SN8’s successful permanent fire, most likely the explanation was a simple typo or miscommunication that Cameron County or SpaceX failed to properly communicate that those subsequent standard fire testing windows were no longer needed.
If intentional to maintain standard fire closures, SpaceX – at Musk’s urging – wants to install the starship SN8’s Nosecon in a few hours. Starship SN8’s Noscon – adorned with multiple gas triggers, forward folds powered by Tesla motors, a liquid oxygen head tank, vents and plenty of plumbing – is almost unthinkable to be ready for testing within 12 hours of being installed. With the exception of a surprising method of mating the nose and tank sections of the SN8, the nozzle must be welded to the remaining SN8 and the weld inspected – usually a multi-day process.
However, it seems reasonable to assume that with how fast SpaceX moves and the dead CEO Elon Musk increasing limits and overcoming obstacles, the Starship SN8 may be fully integrated and ready for a second standard fire test. . Upon completion, the SN8 will be ready to attempt Starship’s first high-altitude flight test, launching untested Skydiver-style descent and landing at ~ 15km (~ 9.3 miles) to attempt landing.