Starship Prototype SN9 imminent for Sarborbital flight

Vol de démonstration du prototype SN8 en décembre 2020. © SpaceX

Starship, the future space transportation system for SpaceX, is expected to accelerate this year. SpaceX plans to increase the number of show flights of SN prototypes, and fly the first prototype of the Super Heavy, the stage where StarShip launches. After a successful static test on Wednesday, the SN9 will be able to fly through Wednesday and repeat SN8’s best performance, but with the goal of fully landing!

A few weeks later Exciting flight of SN8 Not only on landing, despite some problems SpaceX SN9 is getting ready to fly. This is not more or less than the flight frequency of the SN8, but with the declared purpose of landing in one piece. After a successful static test on Wednesday, January 6th, SN9 will have a second on Monday, January 11th. If everything is planned, the prototype can fly within three days, depending on the conditions Weather.

The SN9, powered by three Rapter engines, must fly at an altitude of 12.5 km before landing. “Belly flop” is a mischievous behavior Launchers Reusable. The plot involves controlled tilting to prepare the machine for landing from the horizontal position to the landing position. A ” Landing to be successful this time , Wants to specify Elon Musk, Good ” We are not free from technical boredom .

The causes of the SN8 crash are known (the Raptors engines did not get enough ust power after they were re-ignited) and changes were made to the SN9 to prevent this from happening again. Except for these updates, SN9 and SN8 are very similar. The most important upgrades and improvements were not planned before SN15.

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Shoot the SN9 prototype Rapouter engines in a traditional static pre-flight test. © NASA SpaceFlight, YouTube

The first super heavy prototypes will fly this year

As part of this initiative, Elon Musk Announced that it wanted to increase the speed of the launch Prototypes Of Starship. Two launch pads are now in operation at the Boca Chikka launch base (SpaceX South Texas launch site). SN10 can take off by the end of January.

This year, the first prototype of the Super Heavy main stage is expected to fly. BN1 – Booster No. 1 – Currently existing Construction. When in service, this floor will be a record number Raptor engines : 30 in the current version (initially 31 Raptor engines were planned for Super Heavy and 7 Starships). This first prototype does not include 30 engines. It should be tested with only two engines.

As a reminder, Starship Refers to a transportation system consisting of two parts. The “starship” determines the spacecraft and the upper stage of the launcher, the main stage, i.e. Booster The starship is required to launch, which is called “super heavy”.

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