SpaceX Chief Engineer Shares Starship SN20 Passed Proof Test

Evelyn Arevalo by Evelyn Arevalo September 30, 2021

SpaceX Chief Engineer Shares Starship SN20 Passed Proof Test

Featured Image Source: @LabPadre via Twitter 

South Texas will become the ‘Gateway To Mars’, SpaceX is building a 21st Century Spaceport at Boca Chica Beach from where a fleet of Starships will liftoff on voyages to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. The aerospace company is in the initial phase of developing the two-stage launch vehicle. It is currently preparing to conduct the first orbital flight test during which a Super Heavy rocket booster will propel the Starship spacecraft for the first time to orbit. Engineers are working on two prototypes, Booster 4 and Starship SN20. This past week they started SN20's test campaign.

On September 27, SpaceX first tested Starship SN20’s Reaction Control System (RCS) which is a set of thrusters designed to control the vehicle in space. By Monday night, SpaceX engineers proceeded to conduct a cryogenic proof test of the Starship SN20 prototype. During the test, engineers assess the stainless-steel spacecraft’s structural integrity by filling it up with cryogenic liquid nitrogen to pressurize SN20’s tanks, they also simulate the forces of the Raptor engines. Starship will be equipped with six Raptors during the upcoming orbital flight.

Pre-flight testing is important to ensure the stainless-steel vehicle is structurally sound before it takes flight. SpaceX performed a second cryogenic proof test on Wednesday night. Soon after the test was completed, SpaceX founder Chief Engineer Elon Musk shared – “Proof was good!”

 

Now, SpaceX can move on to test Starship SN20's Raptor engines. The spacecraft prototype will be equipped with six engines, three of those are vacuum-optimized Raptors which feature a larger nozzle specifically designed for propulsion in space. The Super Heavy Booster 4 will have 29 Raptor engines that are designed for atmospheric flight. Booster 4 will undergo an individual test campaign. The first is expected to be a series of proof tests similar to SN20, then static-fire tests of the powerful engines.

It will be the first time the company launches a rocket with 29 Raptor engines. The engines are new in the aerospace industry, designed and manufactured by SpaceX. Unlike traditional rocket engines that are fueled by rocket-grade Kerosene, Raptor engines are fueled by liquid methane (propellant) and liquid oxygen (oxidizer), also referred to as Methalox. Each Raptor engine can generate around 185 tons of thrust. Musk previously said their goal is to increase “thrust from ~185 tons to ~230 tons” on future Raptor engine production. Super Heavy rocket is set to become the world’s most powerful launch vehicle, once its operational. You can watch SpaceX operations at the Starbase Launchpad Live in the video below, courtesy of LabPadre via YouTube.

VIDEO: LabPadre 24/7 SpaceX Starbase Launchpad Livestream



 

Featured Image Source: @LabPadre via Twitter 

 





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