SpaceX Plans To Fly Starship From Texas To Hawaii During First Orbital Flight

Evelyn Arevalo by Evelyn Arevalo May 13, 2021

SpaceX Plans To Fly Starship From Texas To Hawaii During First Orbital Flight

Featured Image Source: Starship Render Created By @ErcXspace via Twitter

SpaceX is ambitiously developing its next-generation launch vehicle in South Texas. Starship and its Super Heavy rocket booster are under production at the Starbase launch site located at Boca Chica Beach, along the border with Mexico in the Gulf. SpaceX engineers have launched five stainless-steel prototypes of Starship into high altitudes of approximately 10-kilometers (km). During its most recent flight test that took place on May 5th, “Starship SN15 was powered through ascent by three Raptor engines to ~10km in altitude. It then reoriented itself for reentry and a controlled aerodynamic descent,” the company said, “SN15’s Raptor engines reignited as the vehicle performed a flip maneuver for a nominal landing on the pad.” It became the first vehicle to ace the landing without exploding, video below. SpaceX founder Elon Musk said that they could try to launch SN15 a second time, as the next test vehicles are under assembly. He plans to launch the first Starship to space as soon as this Summer. To launch to orbit, the 160-feet-tall Starship will require a 230-feet-tall Super Heavy rocket to propel it to space. The first prototype of the booster is also under assembly, alongside a gigantic launch tower from where the duo will liftoff from.

According to a new SpaceX filing to the U.S. Federal Communication’s Commission (FCC) SpaceX plans to fly Starship from South Texas to Hawaii during the first orbital flight! “The Starship Orbital test flight will originate from Starbase, TX. The Booster stage will separate approximately 170 seconds into flight. The Booster will then perform a partial return and land in the Gulf of Mexico approximately 20 miles from the shore,” SpaceX told the FCC in the filing document, “The Orbital Starship will continue on flying between the Florida Straits. It will achieve orbit until performing a powered, targeted landing approximately 100km (~62 miles) off the northwest coast of Kauai [Hawaii] in a soft ocean landing.”

The document also features maps outlining SpaceX’s orbital Starship flight path, pictured below. The company told the FCC that its objective is “to collect as much data as possible during flight to quantify entry dynamics and better understand what the vehicle experiences in a flight regime that is extremely difficult to accurately predict or replicate computationally,” SpaceX said, “This data will anchor any changes in vehicle design or CONOPs [concept of operations] after the first flight and build better models for us to use in our internal simulations.” The orbital flight test would last a bit over 90 minutes. SpaceX will coordinate Starship’s first flight with federal agencies, including the FCC, FAA, NASA, and the U.S. Air Force.


All Images Source: SpaceX FCC Document 

 

 

 

 

Featured Image Source: Starship Render Created By @ErcXspace via Twitter





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