SpaceX completes installation of a full-size prototype Starship SN3 (5 photos + video)

Active prototype test preparationStarship space rocket enters the final stage. SpaceX is constantly working on a project for the Starship super-heavy rocket, which, together with the Super Heavy ship, will replace the currently functioning Falcon rockets and the Dragon ship. Development is proceeding at an accelerated pace, despite the fact that only 5% of Ilona Mask's innovative investment is allocated to the project.

In the last days of February during tests underthe pressure of hydraulic systems, tanks and gas pipelines of the first Starship SN1 prototype depressurized the fuel tank, which as a result exploded, destroying the ship's skin. The design of the second Starship SN2 prototype was amended accordingly.

Already on March 9, Elon Musk "reported" on the successfulStarship SN2 prototype tank pressure test. According to the assurance of the founder of SpaceX, the Starship SN2 fuel tank, in which the engineers changed the engine mount module and the engine compartment itself, was pressure tested and was also tested to simulate the thrust of a running engine using a hydraulic jack.

Given the fact that design changesStarship SN2 hydraulic systems and tanks were actually driven “from the wheels”, taking into account the shortcomings in the design of the first prototype, it was decided not to allow this prototype for further testing and to proceed with the construction of the third Starship SN3 ship. The conveyor principle for prototyping at SpaceX does not require large expenditures for such changes in the project.

Currently preparing the ship Starship SN3enters the final stage - the installation of the third of four engine modules is completed and preparations are underway for the installation of a nose cowl and three Raptor engines, the fire tests of which will be the first stage of testing the prototype. In the future, with the successful completion of engine testing, the prototype will be tested in flight tests.
Starship SN3 ship delivery to testthe site may occur before the end of March 2020. Currently, the test program does not give a clear answer to the question whether the third prototype will perform the first suborbital flight to an altitude of 20 thousand meters, or for this the next model will be created - Starship SN4.

Starship project was originally evaluated by IlonA mask of 5 billion dollars. However, the tests make adjustments and, most likely, the costs will be increased. Meanwhile, SpaceX has already selected a construction site for the plant and engineering center, which will be used for serial production and further development of Starship series ships