For the first time, a spaceship prototype is reviving life with three engines


As part of the Starship program, SpaceX began experimenting with earlier prototypes in late 2019 and early 2020, losing three vehicles during various test runs. In May, for the first time, the company successfully tested the full-area tank section of its Starship (SN4) vehicle with a single Raptor engine. It was later lost due to a problem with the ground systems.

Then, again in Augustea in September, he flew with two different vehicles – SN5 and SN6 – on a short jump up to 150 meters. These flying pieces looked like flying spray cans as they climbed the Texas coastal plain, but they provided valuable experience to the company’s engineers, who had learned how to operate the Raptor engine in flight and pushed the pressure limits on the fuel tanks. .

Since then, work has continued on developing the SN8 to achieve a much higher flight. This required SpaceX to add large fins and a cone to the tank section. This vehicle is more like what the ultimate starship vehicle will look like. Eventually, it will have six Raptor engines. These include three engines optimized for thrust at sea level and three more with larger nozzles optimized for thrust in the space vacuum.

The spaceship is intended to serve as a reusable upper stage as part of the next-generation SpaceX launch system. It will also include a large rocket called Super Heavy, which will propel the spaceship into orbit. SpaceX employees in Boca Chica have begun assembling the first of these Super Heavy test vehicles, which are likely to undergo an iterative design process, such as the spaceship, which included some test failures along the way.

The combined rocket stack and its upper spaceship stage could attempt orbital flight as early as next year. At a virtual meeting of the Mars Society on Friday, Elon Musk’s founder and chief engineer said he was “80 to 90% confident” that the company will reach orbit with the spaceship in 2021.

SpaceX expects Starship will eventually replace its Falcon 9 tug rocket, which has become America’s most experienced rocket with 95 launches in just a decade. The spaceship will fly on cargo missions, and eventually SpaceX hopes to have a large crew on the Moon and Mars. NASA gave the company the original $ 135 million contract to study astronaut landing on the moon as part of its Artemis program.

List of NASASpaceflight.coim images

Source link