Featured Image Source: Tyler Gray @TylerG1998 via Twitter
SpaceX founder Elon Musk targets to launch the first astronauts to the Martian surface in four to six years, by 2026. The aerospace company is taking on the ambitious challenge to develop a reusable spacecraft capable of transporting hundreds of passengers to Mars. Engineers are working on the company’s next-generation vehicle – Starship – that could one day transform humanity into a spacefaring civilization. This sounds like something straight out of an entertaining Sci-Fi film but Musk and his teams at SpaceX work tirelessly on developing the spacecraft that will make colonizing the Red Planet a reality. –“… I think it is important to have a self-sustaining city on Mars as soon as possible,” Musk said, “I mean, I am optimistic about the future on Earth but its important to have insurance for life as a whole,” he stated on December 1st, during the 2020 Axel Springer Award ceremony. Having a permanent, self-sustaining settlement on the Martian surface will save the human species in case something catastrophic were to happen on Earth. SpaceX teams are rapidly manufacturing multiple Starship prototypes in an assembly factory at the SpaceX South Texas Launch Facility located in Boca Chica Village. Each prototype will undergo testing towards the development of the spacecraft that could one day change the course of humanity’s future.
#Starship SN8 stands tall on her launch mount in Boca Chica, ready for another static fire before her 15km flight test later this week.— Tyler Gray (@TylerG1998) November 30, 2020
I can definitively say: she’s more beautiful in person. 🤩 pic.twitter.com/0ABJxvMuWC
Space enthusiasts cannot wait until SpaceX launches the first fully-assembled Starship prototype that resembles the spacecraft’s original design. The prototype, dubbed SN8 (Serial No.8), is the first stainless-steel vehicle that features three powerful, methane-fueled Raptor engines and aerodynamic flaps that will be tested during a 50,000 feet test flight, equivalent to 15-kilometers. Musk recently shared Starship SN8’s debut flight would take place “no earlier than Wednesday.” Today, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), responsible for regulating airspace traffic, published a NOTAM notice, which is a document that alerts pilots of potential flight hazards along a sky route. The NOTAM notice reveals SpaceX informed the FAA it plans to launch Starship SN8 sometime from Friday, December 4 to Sunday, December 6 (shown below).
Source: Federal Aviation Administration
We could see the vehicle soar 50,000 feet above Boca Chica’s sandy beach over the weekend. Cameron County’s Boca Chica Beach road closure announcements indicate SpaceX plans to perform vital preparations starting today, December 2nd. Engineers are expected to conduct a static-fire test of SN8’s Raptor trio before attempting to perform the test flight. During a static-firing, the Raptors will be briefly ignited to assess performance. You can watch SpaceX operations this weekend [date is subject to change] in the video below, courtesy of LabPadre via YouTube.
WATCH IT LIVE!
About the Author
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.