To commemorate their greatest achievement so far, Starship SpaceX released a review video of the SN8 high-altitude flight. This is the 12.5 km jump test conducted on December 9, 2020, in which the SN8 prototype rose to a height of 12.5 km (7.8 miles), performed a “belly” maneuver, and then returned to the launch pad.Although it did not completely prevent the landing, the test is an important milestone for the development Starship.
The flight tests were conducted after several static fire tests on previous prototypes (SN1 to SN5), and a series of 150-meter (~500 feet) jump tests on SN5 and SN6. On October 20, 2020, another successful static shooting test was conducted on the eighth prototype (SN8) using three Raptor engines. With the proven engine and design, the company is preparing for the first high-altitude test in December.
Two minutes and twenty-two seconds of video capture the highlights of the test by merging shots from many different cameras recorded on the day. These include a series of external cams in the engine compartment (including the drone cam that has been following the SN8), a cam on the landing pad, and a cam on the fuselage.
First, the ignition and rise of the engine are shown. All three Ratpor engines produce a series of orange-blue flames-the result of the burning of their liquid methane and liquid oxygen (LOX) fuel. This was followed by engine shutdown, and when the SN8 approached its highest point of 12.5 km, the three Raptor engines disengaged (one at a time).
In slow motion, we then saw the SN8 roll over and watched its fins adjust to accommodate the “flop” action. This part of the test aims to verify the aerodynamic surface of the prototype, Starship It will rely on speed and speed when re-entering the atmosphere. Use drone cams and fuselage cams to capture the descent from multiple angles.
Then there is the “flipping maneuver”, in which the two birds of prey reignite and rotate the gimbal so that the tails circle and land. It can be seen from the side (unmanned cam) and the ground. Their engines ignited for the landing to burn, but failed to slow down the SN8 enough to make it a soft landing. Landing and Rapid Unplanned Demolition (RUD)-aka. Explosion-happened subsequently.
This was due to the fuel line pressure problem, which was quickly discovered by ground personnel after the test was completed. Soon thereafter, Musk went to Twitter to share what they learned:
“The fuel tank pressure is low during the landing burn, resulting in high landing speed and RUD, but we have all the data we need! Congratulations to the SpaceX team, yes!!!”
Despite the fiery ending, all key systems and surfaces involved have been verified. These measures include ascent, conversion from the tail to the main tank fuel tank (once the SN8 reaches its highest point), and precise flap controls to control the descent. At the same time, the crew obtained all the data they needed to prevent a soft landing and used it for the next round of testing.
Then, the video ends with the title, which reiterates the success of the first high-altitude flight test in history:
SN8 demonstrated the first controllable aero-powered landing device and landing flip control device. If there is no runway, including the moon, Mars and beyond, these will be able to land.
Speaking of this, all signs indicate that Musk plans to conduct jump tests with SN9 and others in the next few weeks. These measures include the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Air Force Notices (NOTAMs) for the airspace around Brownsville, Texas, and the direction of the Cameron Village around the Boca Chica test sight. Cameron Country).
Since then, these have been expanded, and the new NOTAM will be released next Wednesday and Thursday (January 13th and 14th), from 08:00 AM to 06:00 PM local time (CST) – or 06: PST: 00 AM to 04:00 PM; 09:00 AM to 07:00 PM Eastern Time. Similarly, Monday to Wednesday (January 11 to January 13) announced new road closures for Interstate 4 and Boca Chica Beech in Cameron Country.
Since then, SN9 has been launched on the landing platform, and the first static fire test was conducted at the beginning of this week (Wednesday, January 6). Unfortunately, the test was aborted after a brief trigger, and another test may be performed next week before attempting any frequency hopping test. At the same time, SN10 has been stacked and integrated inside Gaowan. Once SN9 is on track, it will be ready to launch.
SN11 and SN12 are also assembled in the middle bay of the factory. SN11 is about to be completed and only its nose cone is needed. Musk also hinted that he and his staff at the Boca Chica factory will simultaneously test SN9 and SN10 (and subsequent prototypes). This is in response to a tweet from RGV Aerial Photography (@RGVaerialphotos), which was shot on a sky bridge every week to take photos of the Boca Chica facility.
The image in the tweet shows the image on the SN9 landing pad, with an earlier picture of SN8 (using Photoshop) added to the adjacent pad. The caption of the picture has a question for Musk: “As the SN10 is about to be completed and repaired in the landing zone, do you think this is something we will see in the next few weeks?” To this end, Musk said Twitter replied “yes”.
By 2021, it will be an exciting time for SpaceX, commercial space and the entire space exploration! Although we have seen a lot of bad news this year, it seems that some serious lights will appear soon!