SpaceX Transports Starship SN15 To The Launch Pad Ahead Of Flight Test

Evelyn Arevalo by Evelyn Arevalo April 08, 2021

SpaceX Transports Starship SN15 To The Launch Pad Ahead Of Flight Test

Featured Image Source: LabPadre Livestream via YouTube/Twitter

Today in the morning, SpaceX transported Starship SN15 from the assembly site to the launch pad at Boca Chica Beach, Texas. The 50-meter-tall stainless-steel vehicle is the next prototype that will perform a high-altitude flight test. Just nine days ago, SpaceX launched the SN11 prototype 10-kilometers above the sandy beach under dense fog, SN11’s flight test ended in an explosion. SpaceX founder Elon Musk opted to skip the production of SN12 through SN14 to move on to Starship SN15 which features “hundreds of design improvements across structures, avionics/software & engine,” he said, meant to address the issues previous prototypes faced.

Boca Chica residents captured photos of Starship SN15's transportation operation to down Highway 4 road, pictured below. The vehicle will undergo pre-flight preparations at the launch pad, referred to as ‘Suborbital Pad A’. SN15 is expected to undergo a series of proof tests which will involve cryogenic liquid nitrogen to assess if the vehicle is capable of enduring the pressure it will experience in-flight with cryogenic propellants. If SN15 passes a proof test, engineers will move forward with conducting a static-fire test of the vehicle’s methane-fueled Raptor engine trio. According to Cameron County Boca Chica Beach road closure announcements, SpaceX could initiate the first test sometime between April 9 to April 13. Once these tests are complete Starship SN15 could take flight this month.

 

SpaceX aims to develop the Starship spacecraft in less than three years, each flight test takes the company closer towards accomplishing it. “I’m highly confident that we will have reached orbit many times with Starship before 2023. And that it will be safe enough for human transport by 2023. It’s looking very promising,” Musk said last month. The first crewed voyage around the Moon is scheduled for 2023. Before putting humans aboard, SpaceX plans to conduct ‘hundreds’ of flights carrying cargo, like satellites. SpaceX has not launched a Starship to orbit, the first uncrewed orbital flight test is planned for this summer, their aspirational date is July 1st. To conduct an orbital flight SpaceX will require a giant Super Heavy rocket booster, which the company has not tested yet. The first booster ‘BN1’, is under assembly and will be rolled down to the launch pad after Starship SN15 performs a flight test. This year is guaranteed to be exciting in terms of the spacecraft’s development. You can watch SpaceX South Texas Launch Site operations Live 24/7 in the video below, courtesy of LabPadre via YouTube.

WATCH IT LIVE!



 

 Featured Image Source: LabPadre Livestream via YouTube/Twitter





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