SpaceX’s Starship SN20 prototype wows in key 6-engine static test

SpaceX’s Starbase facility and launch site in Texas has overseen the development of many ambitious Starship prototypes in recent years, all towards the goal of a sustainable rocket and booster system capable of supporting humanity’s next great journey to mars.

SpaceX’s Starbase facility and launch site in Texas has overseen the development of many ambitious Starship prototypes in recent years, all towards the goal of a sustainable rocket and booster system capable of supporting humanity’s next great journey to mars.

We recently saw a prototype of SpaceX’s SN20 rocket firing it’s six engines in a static test. On the 12th of November, Musk tweeted shortly after, “Good static fire with all six engines!”

This was the first static fire test using six simultaneous Raptor engines. Earlier tests featured only two. These prototypes once fully developed will launch cargo and crew to the moon and eventually mars, the system is designed to be fully reusable, lessening the companies environmental impact. Previous Starship test launches reached a maximum altitude of 6 miles before returning to Earth, often with explosive results.

Starship SN20 is now designed to reach orbit. It’s been fitted to launch atop a Super Heavy booster, The system features two fully reusable parts, The previously mentioned booster and a 50-meter spacecraft known as Starship.

The most recent prototype of SpaceX’s Starship rocket and Super Heavy booster, once assembled, break the current record for the tallest rocket ever constructed. Standing at 120 metres, the previous record was held by NASA’s Saturn V moon rocket, standing at 110 metres.

Back in May, SpaceX submitted plans to test their new two-part system in an orbital launch, “There’s a lot of risk associated with this first launch,” says Musk, speaking at a virtual conference. “So, I would not say that it is likely to be successful, but I think we will make a lot of progress.”. However, due to an ongoing environmental assessment of their Starbase facility by the Federal Aviation Administration, we are to expect delays. Current estimations are for a January launch.

Environmental concerns which have been raised by residents range from the effects of increased construction and habitat loss to wild and endangered bird species. Other concerns include road closures and beach access, “At first glance, it looks like a private company subsidized by millions in Texas taxpayer dollars is asking the public to sacrifice a National Wildlife Refuge,” said David Newstead, director of the coastal bird program at the Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program, which monitors and researches wildlife activity around the facility. Musk will work closely with these governing bodies to quell local concerns and come to an amicable solution. Commenting on twitter “If all goes well, Starship will be ready for its first orbital launch attempt next month, pending regulatory approval,”

In a few short years SpaceX have achieved many things for example the Dragon spacecraft which can deliver 7 passengers to and from the ISS, restoring America’s ability to do so since 2011. The Dragon spacecraft stands as the only spacecraft currently operational which can return significant amounts of cargo to earth. SpaceX have supported NASA in numerous resupply missions to the ISS, totalling 31 launches and 28 visits to the ISS as of November 2021.

Since 2012, SpaceX have been delivering cargo to and from the international space station. The company has transported crew and private passengers to the ISS under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. This started in 2020, SpaceX remain the only private company capable of this.

 

 

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