Elon Musk’s SpaceX is preparing for its latest test of the Starship – a rocket which could eventually shepherd humans to Mars. Mr Musk’s firm has announced today (Thursday, January 28) for a probable launch after days of delays. The original launch had been scheduled two weeks ago, but a mixture of repairs, unfavourable weather conditions and regulatory approval have forced SpaceX to delay the test flight several times.
However, today could be the day which sees the Starship Serial Number 9 (SN9) prototype finally launch.
When it does, it will follow in the footsteps of the previous prototype, SN8.
The test of the SN8 saw the rocket launched 12.5 kilometres into the sky.
Once the rocket was in the air, it began flying effortlessly above the clouds.
We will use your email address only for sending you newsletters. Please see our Privacy Notice for details of your data protection rights.
SpaceX: Simulation demonstrates ‘Super Heavy’ rocket landing
The rocket then completed a full circle before landing back on the ground.
However, the rocket exploded on impact with the ground – although SpaceX anticipated faults in this launch.
The SN9 will hopefully launch 10 kilometres into the air, before performing a “controlled descent” for the first time.
SpaceX said: “As early as Thursday, January 28, the SpaceX team will attempt a high-altitude flight test of Starship serial number 9 (SN9) – the second high-altitude suborbital flight test of a Starship prototype from our site in Cameron County, Texas.
“Similar to the high-altitude flight test of Starship serial number 8 (SN8), SN9 will be powered through ascent by three Raptor engines, each shutting down in sequence prior to the vehicle reaching apogee – approximately 10 km in altitude.
“SN9 will perform a propellant transition to the internal header tanks, which hold landing propellant, before reorienting itself for reentry and a controlled aerodynamic descent.
“A controlled aerodynamic descent with body flaps and vertical landing capability, combined with in-space refilling, are critical to landing Starship at destinations across the solar system where prepared surfaces or runways do not exist, and returning to Earth.
“This capability will enable a fully reusable transportation system designed to carry both crew and cargo on long-duration, interplanetary flights and help humanity return to the Moon, and travel to Mars and beyond.”
SpaceX launch today: Will Starship SN9 launch?
Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos go to war as HUGE SpaceX/Amazon row erupts
SpaceX Starship: Elon Musk reveals render of floating oil rig platform
SpaceX is yet to give a time as to when the launch might happen, but a live stream of the event begins at 1pm GMT.
However, more delays may be in the pipeline and back-up launch windows are pencilled in for Friday.
SpaceX said on its official website: “There will be a live feed of the flight test available here that will start a few minutes prior to liftoff.
“Given the dynamic schedule of development testing, stay tuned to our social media channels for updates as we move toward SpaceX’s second high-altitude flight test of Starship!”
The live stream has been embedded at the top of this page.
Source: Read Full Article