SpaceX's next Starship prototype will begin its test campaign

SpaceX's next Starship prototype will begin its test campaign

Just a week ago, SpaceX launched the Starship SN9 (Serial Number 9) prototype on a high-altitude flight test at the South Texas Launch Facility. Now they are preparing to launch the next prototype in line, Starship SN10. Both stainless-steel vehicles stood side-by-side at the Boca Chica Beach launch pad, it looked like a scene from a science fiction movie! On February 2nd, Starship SN9 lifted off the sandy beach as Starship SN10 stood on a test stand. The launch painted a futuristic picture of what is to come, SpaceX plans to transform the southernmost tip of Texas into a spaceport to Mars. The 50-meter-tall stainless-steel SN9 vehicle soared 10-kilometers into the sunny sky powered by a trio of methane-fueled Raptor engines. When it reached its maximum altitude SN9 shutdown its engines to perform an amazing aerodynamic descent. The flight test lasted approximately six minutes, ending with a giant explosion upon landing. SpaceX shared the failed landing attempt was due to “one of the Raptor engines [that] did not relight and caused SN9 to land at high speed and experience a RUD [Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly],” the company stated. –“It was foolish of us not to start 3 engines and immediately shut down 1, as 2 are needed to land,” the founder of SpaceX Elon Musk said on Thursday.  

Developing the spacecraft that could one day enable humans to become a muliplanet species comes with many challenges. Despite of the difficulty, Musk is hell-bent on creating a reusable Starship launch system that will enable humanity to colonize the Red Planet. “The future of humanity is going to bifurcate in two directions: Either it's going to become multiplanetary, or it's going to remain confined to one planet and eventually there's going to be an extinction event,” Musk told National Geographic reporters in 2016. SpaceX runs around-the-clock operations to create the launch vehicle that could revolutionize our future. Engineers are now preparing Starship SN10 to perform the next high-altitude test flight at Boca Chica Beach. This week teams installed Raptor engines toSN10 at the launch pad, shown in the video below.

SpaceX will soon begin Starship SN10’s test campaign, according to a Boca Chica resident who received a letter from the company. “SpaceX will conduct Space Flight Activities on February 8, 2021 from 9:00am to 6:00pm. Approximately 10 minutes prior to the activity, you will be provided notice by the sounding of a police siren. There may be more than one instance during that time period where you will hear a siren notification,” the letter reads, pictured below. The first series of tests are expected to be cryogenic proof tests, in which Starship SN10 will be filled with inert gas, liquid nitrogen, to assess if the vehicle can withstand the type of force it would experience during a flight. If that test goes well, teams could proceed to perform a static-ignition of the newly installed Raptor engines. Meanwhile, the next prototype Starship SN11 is under assembly at the rocket factory! You can watch SpaceX operations Live 24/7 in the video below, courtesy of LabPadre via YouTube. 

SpaceX South Texas Launch Site Live 24/7


Featured Image Source: SpaceX

About the Author

Evelyn Arevalo

Evelyn Arevalo

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.

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