SpaceX Scrubs High Altitude Test of SN15 Starship Prototype

SpaceX has investigated high-altitude testing of its latest starship prototype, the SN15, which is scheduled for the afternoon of Friday, April 30. No reason for the cancellation has been stated, and this means that the test will be pushed back. Next week.

High altitude testing is one of the biggest challenges for a prototype. In this, the prototype is fueled and launched and mounted at high altitudes. The prototype then maneuvers its “belly flop” and attempts to return to Earth for a controlled vertical landing. This is not easy, however, as four previous attempts to obtain a prototype to perform the landing maneuver ended in the prototype explosion.

In preparation for this latest test, SpaceX is conducting tests such as a static fire test performed on Monday, April 26. In this test, the prototype was put through launch preparations and stuck to the ground when its engines were fired. This allows engineers to check that everything is working as planned. It all looked good, and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the prototype was ready for its high-altitude testing later in the week.

Starship SN 15 static fire completed, preparing for flight this weekend

& mdash; Elon Musk (@elonmusk) 27 April, 2021

According to NASSpace Facelight, the test will likely be rescheduled for Monday, April 3rd, after the roads in the area around the Boca Chica launch site are closed. There are some windows available for testing over the weekend, so most likely next week. Time to proceed to trial.

SpaceX has said it plans to send the starship on its first orbital flight this summer, but will first require a high-altitude test that includes a tricky vertical landing maneuver.

Ultimately the starship plans to become a massive launch vehicle to send large payloads on long trips such as the moon and Mars. It will complement the company’s Falcon 9 rocket, which is used to launch satellites, crew capsules, and more and features a reusable first stage. Although reusable rockets are significantly harder to design and manage than single-use rockets, they have the potential to make space flight cheaper and more accessible because the cost would be lower when parts were reused. is.

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