The SpaceX spaceship passes the static fire test with three raptor engines, finally gets the bow cone


SpaceX spaceship passes static fire test with three raptor engines, finally gets nose cone

Credit: @BocaChicaGal

It’s starting to look like SpaceX will be attempting the 15-kilometer (9.3-mile) test hop before Christmas. After two successful jumps of 150 meters (~ 500 feet) with the SN5 and SN6 prototypes, engineers at SpaceX’s Boca Chica launch facility in South Texas launched the SN8, the first prototype spaceship with three Raptor engines. But before the SN8 could conduct a high-altitude test flight, the engineers had to perform a static fire test.

This test is critical to ensuring that the spaceship’s internal plumbing can handle its cryogenic propellants and is the last milestone before the spaceship can make a high-altitude flight. On the evening of Tuesday 20 October, that’s exactly what they did. At 3:13 am local time (1:13 AM PDT; 4:13 AM EDT), the SN8 fired up its three Raptor engines and kept running them for several seconds straight.

Although SpaceX has not yet released a statement on the test, footage captured near the launch facility by NASA Spaceflight’s Mary McConnaughey (AKA @BocaChicaGal) suggests it was a success. The video of the event shows the engine starting at 2h, 27m 12s after several minutes of venting and staying on for several seconds.

With this milestone reached, the company appears ready to conduct the historic 15-kilometer (9.3 = mile) test hop. At this point, it seems likely to happen before late October or early November. While the SN8 received its three Raptor engines and prepared to test them, another team was busy mounting the nose cone in another part of the facility.

Not since the Starhopper test vehicle was in active service, a Starship prototype has not been fitted with a cone. However, this segment was removed shortly after the Starhopper blew up in strong winds in January 2019. What remained, the lower section of the single engine, went on to conduct a tied hop test, followed by a first jump test. in free flight at 20 meters (~ 65 feet).

In August 2019, these tests culminated in a 150 meter (~ 500 ft) hop test, a feat that would not be accomplished again until a year later with the SN5 and SN7 prototype. Since then, development of the SN8 has proceeded apace, which began with the core undergoing a series of trial runs (October 6 to October 8) to validate its stainless steel propellant tanks in preparation for the its static fire test.

What followed was the addition of the large maneuvering flaps to the central section and the nose cone. The cone was then fixed with a crane to the SN8 fuselage on Thursday (October 22), an event attended by multiple observers who took photos and videos.

With the cone and fins installed, the vehicle now resembles the finalized spaceship design for the first time. With its three engines, bow cone and integrated maneuvering flaps, the SN8 is almost ready to attempt its 15 kilometer (9.3 mile) jump test, which will include a belly-flop maneuver that it will test its ability to go back to its landing site using only its maneuvering surfaces.

According to Musk’s previous statements, SpaceX hopes to conduct a suborbital hop test at an altitude of 200 kilometers (~ 125 miles) in the next year. For this final test, the Starship will be equipped with six Raptor engines: three optimized for thrust at sea level and three optimized for the vacuum of space. The company is also busy working on the Super Heavy element of the launch system, which will have no fewer than 28 Raptor engines.

SpaceX is almost ready to start testing the third Starship prototype

Provided by Universe Today

Quote: SpaceX Spaceship Passes Static Fire Test with Three Raptor Engines, Finally Gets Nose Cone (2020, Oct 26) Retrieved Oct 27, 2020 from starship-static-raptor-nose .html

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