Instant for StarShip prototype SN9 SurborPital aircraft

Vol de démonstration du prototype SN8 en décembre 2020. © SpaceX

The growth of Starship, SpaceX’s future space transportation system, is expected to accelerate this year. SpaceX plans to increase the rate of demonstration aircraft of SN prototypes, and fly one of the first prototypes of the superheavy, which is the starting point for starship. After a successful stable test on Wednesday, the SN9 could fly by Wednesday and be able to repeat the good performance of the SN8, but with the intention of fully landing!

After a few weeks Awesome flight of SN8 Despite some problems, not only in landing, SpaceX SN9 is getting ready to fly. This is no more or less than repeating the flight of the SN8, but with the intention of landing in one piece. SN9 will receive a second test on Monday, January 11, after a successful standard test on Wednesday, January 6th. If all goes as planned, the prototype could fly within three days depending on conditions Weather.

Powered by three Raptor engines, the SN9 must fly at an altitude of 12.5 km before landing, thus characterizing the “belly flop” maneuver. Initiators Reusable. This maneuver machine has a controlled tilt from horizontal to vertical to prepare for its landing. A ” Landing to win this time », I would like to clarify Elon Musk, Good ” We are not free from technical boredom .

The causes of SN8 malfunction are known (they were not sufficient after the raptors engines were re-ignited) and modifications were made to SN9 to prevent this from happening again. Apart from these changes, SN9 and SN8 are very similar. The most important changes and improvements were not planned before SN15.

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Firing of SN9 prototype raptors during conventional standard front flight test. © Nassaspacelight, YouTube

The first super heavy prototypes will fly this year

On the side of this launch, Elon Musk He announced that he wanted to speed up the pace to get started Models of Starship. Two launch pads are now operating at the Boca Sika launch site (SpaceX South Texas launch site). SN10 may depart by the end of January.

This year, the first prototype of the Super Heavy Main Phase is expected to fly. PN1 – Booster No. 1 – Is present Construction. While in service, this site will have a registration number Raptor engines : 30 in the current version (initially, 31 Raptor engines were planned for Super Heavy and 7 Starship). This first prototype does not embed 30 machines. This should only be tested with two machines.

As a reminder, Starship Refers to a two-part transport system. “Starship” refers to the space transport vehicle and the upper stage of the launch as the main stage, i.e. Booster The start of the starship is called “super heavy”.

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About the Author: Cary Douglas

Cary Douglas is a reporter who covers everything from oil trading to China's biggest conglomerates and technology companies. Originally from Chicago, he is a graduate of New York University's business and economic reporting program.

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