General, Research, Technology

Tin can in the air: Starship prototype successfully "jumped" 150 meters

The beginning of August for SpaceX wasintense, but very successful. First, on August 2, she managed to return the astronauts from the International Space Station to Earth without any problems inside the Crew Dragon spacecraft. Now it became known that on August 5, the company successfully tested a prototype of the Starship SN5 spacecraft. Recall that this spacecraft is planned to be used to send especially heavy loads into space and to carry out flights to the Moon, Mars and other distant places. The prototype has been tested before, but the last four attempts have ended in complete failure. And all because the device was either destroyed even before the flight, or exploded after being detached from the launch pad. This time everything went like clockwork - the prototype, which at the moment looks like a tin can, rose to a height of about 150 meters and gently sank into place.

The Starship SN5 prototype looks like a tin can because it doesn't have a head fairing

Starship spacecraft testing

How the prototype ship was testedStarship SN5, Spaceflight Now reported. The action took place at the Boca Chica launch site, which is located in the US state of Texas. The prototype was powered by a single Raptor rocket engine and full-size fuel tanks. As part of this test, the company first wanted to test the vehicle's guidance system, a technology that helps a ship adhere to a specified flight category. It was also important for SpaceX to make sure the structure and fuel tanks were strong. The flight was successful, which means that the prototype's durability is all right. If there was any problem, there would be another explosion - no joke with fuel tanks.

The moment of takeoff of the Starship SN5 prototype

The event was broadcast live onYouTube channel NASASpaceFlight. The video below shows the entire testing process - as you can see, it took less than one minute. Within this time frame, the Starship SN5 prototype lifted off the ground without any problems, reached about 150 meters in height and gently landed on the launch pad. During all this time, he confidently kept his balance, that is, everything is in order with the guidance system.

Astronomers Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley

Second, the company has successfully testedStarship SN5 prototype. The company failed the test four times in a row. The attempt, made in May, generally ended in an explosion - the prototype, numbered SN4, was engulfed in flames. The same fate befell other prototypes: for various reasons, they exploded in November, February and April. So, at the moment it is one of the few prototypes that was able to make a full "jump" into the sky. My colleague Artem Sutyagin wrote in more detail about the failed Starship tests - I recommend everything in detail and to the point.

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Even Elon Musk himself noted the company's success. In his twitter, he hinted that the first manned flight to Mars is no longer a fantasy, but an approaching reality:

Mars looks real.

In the future, the company intends to continuetests of the ship. They will be held quite often, because a full-fledged ship needs to be built by 2022. That's when the company intends to use the Starship to send a large cargo into space. And in 2024, an even more grandiose event should take place - a flight with passengers on board. it remains to be hoped that in the future the prototype will not explode and we will find the moment when the ship under development will take people to the moon or even Mars. Whatever one may say, we live in a very interesting time and it is a pleasure to watch what is happening.