Elon Musk's company continues to prepare forthe creation of the next generation spacecraft Starship, the main tasks of which will be the delivery of astronauts to the moon and the sending of the first colonizers to Mars. The company's official Twitter page posted a message about the successful completion of full-scale tests of the Raptor vacuum engine. The information is accompanied by a short video of the engine testing and a photo of the standard Raptor and its Raptor Vacuum Engine (RVac).
The next stage of testing was carried out atthe SpaceX research base at McGregor, where the main work on the development of the Starship elements is carried out. The message does not indicate either the technical parameters of the engine, nor the conditions in which the tests were carried out.
From the only photo accompanying the videoit can be inferred about the geometrical dimensions of a modified RVac engine placed next to a standard Raptor atmospheric engine.
According to preliminary data, the finalthe Starship version will carry 6 Raptor engines using a closed circuit with full oxygen / methane gasification. Three Raptors are designed for atmospheric operation and three are for vacuum service. The first prototype model for testing the vacuum Raptor was assembled in September 2020.
Completed a full duration test fire of the Raptor Vacuum engine at SpaceX's rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas pic.twitter.com/0GPSdSifnn
- SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 25, 2020
In October, Elon Musk plans to holdanother presentation, which will talk about the progress of the project to create the Starship spacecraft by SpaceX. It is quite possible that the company will have time to conduct flight and static fire tests of the next SN8 prototype by that time. It is assumed that the prototype will be able to climb 18 km, after which it will land at a given point of the cosmodrome. According to SpaceX, the assembly of the SN8 prototype has already been completed and the device has been brought to the launch site, where static tests will begin after September 29.
In parallel, work is underway to createprototype accelerator for the heavy spacecraft Super Heavy. So far, in 18 months, SpaceX has already assembled 40 Raptor prototypes, while each pair of Starship and Super Heavy will need 34 engines. More recently, the scheme was amended to power the Super Heavy with 28 Raptors, as opposed to the original idea of 31 engines.
Full launch of the Starship is scheduledfor the next 2021, and the first start of an unmanned mission to Mars is scheduled for 2022. The mission will deliver equipment to the Red Planet for the first colonizers. Also, SpaceX's immediate plans for 2023 include sending a tourist mission to fly around the moon.