The latest SpaceX program Starship Only prototype in life.
The Starship SN10 («serial number 10») vehicle performed its first «steady fire» test on Tuesday (February 23), with its three Raptor engines lit for a few seconds at 6:03 PM EST (2303 GMT) At SpaceX’s location in southern Texas, near the Gulf Coast settlement in the village of Boca Chica.
Static fires, in which the engines ignite briefly while the missile remains stationary to the ground, are a common pre-test for SpaceX. If all goes well with today’s test, the SN10 is still on track to take off soon — perhaps Early on Thursday (Feb 25) — On a test flight 6 miles (10 km) high in the skies over southern Texas.
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The SN10 spacecraft fire steady! Hope it’s a great test. @ NASASpaceflight pic.twitter.com/J6cVUypRgYFebruary 23, 2021
This will be the Starship’s third high-altitude test, following similar flights in December 2020 and February 2 this year by two of the SN10’s direct predecessors, SN8 and SN9. Both journeys went well to the end; SN8 and SN9 severely rammed their landing pads, Explode in exciting fireballs.
Journeys like this are an important part of the Starship’s development path, which SpaceX He sees it as the vehicle that will make the colonization of Mars economically possible. The Starship will consist of two completely reusable parts: a 165-foot (50 meters) spacecraft called the Starship and a massive rocket known as Super Heavy.
The final spacecraft will contain six Raptors, and the Super Heavy will include about 30 engines, SpaceX founder and CEO. Elon Musk He said. The Starship will be powerful enough to launch itself from the Moon and Mars, but the spacecraft would need the Super Heavy to get off Earth.
We will likely see more test flights for the Starship in the coming weeks and months, regardless of how the SN10 is launched. Musk recently said that SpaceX aims to launch a prototype into Earth orbit this year, and he’s envisioning the Starship People move regularly by 2023.
Mike Wall is the author ofAbroad«(Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustration by Karl Tate), a book on the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.