SpaceX Starship SN24 passes cryogenic proof test –Full-stack is 'only a few weeks away,' says Elon Musk

by Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo June 02, 2022

SpaceX Starship SN24 passes cryogenic proof test –Full-stack is 'only a few weeks away,' says Elon Musk

Featured Image Source: @LabPadre via Twitter & YouTube

SpaceX aims to accomplish launching the first Starship to orbit this year. An orbital flight test will provide engineers with vital insight to advance Starship's development. The two-stage launch vehicle which consists of the spacecraft and the enormous Super Heavy rocket that is destined to become the world’s most powerful operational launch vehicle, right next to NASA's retired Saturn V rocket that launched Apollo astronauts to the Moon over half a century ago. NASA has awarded a contract to SpaceX to develop a lunar-optimized Starship Human Landing System (HLS) to return astronauts to the lunar surface by 2025.

Starship is actively under development since 2019, SpaceX has launched and landed the spacecraft multiple times but has never launched a Starship to orbit. The company planned to conduct the debut orbital flight attempt in 2020, however, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) delayed SpaceX’s plans due to the ongoing environmental assessment at the Starbase launch site in Boca Chica Beach, Texas. The assessment is expected to be completed by June 13th, after roughly 11 months. If the FAA approves, SpaceX will be able to apply for a spaceflight license to launch the first full-stack Starship/Super Heavy to orbit this year. Read more: U.S. Federal Aviation Administration delays SpaceX Starbase Environmental Assessment completion another 2 weeks until June 13th

SpaceX plans to use the Super Heavy Booster 7 prototype to propel the Starship SN24 prototype to orbit. Engineers have been manufacturing and ground testing the vehicles to prepare for the orbital flight. The rocket will be equipped with 33 methane-fueled Raptor V2 engines capable of generating over 16 million pounds of thrust. On Tuesday, May 31st, SpaceX founder Elon Musk shared that engineers would fully-stack SN24 and Booster 7 soon. He said a full-stack is “only a few weeks away” and “all Raptor 2 engines needed for first orbital flight are complete & being installed,” he wrote via Twitter on May 31. Local Boca Chica residents have captured photos of the Raptor V2 engines arriving at the rocket factory for installation.  

   

On Thursday, June 2nd, Musk shared that Starship SN24 passed a cryogenic proof test. SN24 was transported to the launch pad on May 26. As soon as it was mounted on a test stand engineers performed an ambient proof test, then proceeded to conduct a series of cryogenic proof tests to assess the stainless-steel vehicles’ strength. During cryogenic proof tests, Starship’s propellant tanks are filled with liquid nitrogen to simulate the pressure it will experience in-flight when it is filled with liquid methane and liquid oxygen. Now that SN24 passed the proof tests, the vehicle is expected to undergo a static-fire test of its 3 Raptor V2 engines that will be fueled and ignited to assess performance.  

 

Super Heavy Booster 7 underwent proof tests before SN24, last month. The rocket will be transported to the Starbase launch pad as soon as all 33 Raptor V2 engines are installed to undergo a static-fire test. SpaceX has only tested and flown with 3 Raptor engines, Musk said that it plans to test “just one at a time at first,” then test multiple engines that will be ignited during the long-awaited orbital flight. Watch SpaceX Starbase Launch Pad activities 24/7 in the video linked below, courtesy of LabPadre via YouTube. 

VIDEO: LabPadre 24/7 Starbase Livestream

 

 

Featured Image Source: @LabPadre via Twitter & YouTube








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