A SpaceX Starship SN8 will make its highest jump yet on Tuesday, December 8 and it has been abridged from 15km to 12.5km for unknown reasons, though speculations allege that it has something to do with the FAA approval.
Here is what you need to know about the launch
Starship prototype SN8 will fire its three raptor engines and take off from SpaceX’s South Texas launch site, near Boca Chica.
SpaceX founder Elon Musk stated on Tuesday, December 1 that the SN8 prototype will attempt to fly to an altitude of 50,000 feet or 15km as part of the high altitude test. Now with the reduction that has been made, numbers are most probably a bit lower.
With regards to Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR), SpaceX has indeed been granted the FAA approval to venture SN8’s high altitude launch debut on Tuesday.
Moreover, TFR enclosed that vital testing is scheduled today, Friday 4 of December starting at 8:00 AM. In case they needed some extra time. The FAA gave them clearance for the weekend. Ars Technica reports that this will allow SpaceX to perform several new tests, such as Starship’s body flaps, switching from using the main fuel tanks to those used in landing gears and the SN8’s ability to reorient itself for returning to the launch site. Afterward, Starship will make a controlled descent back to the landing pad at Boca Chica facility.
Starship will form the upper stage of SpaceX’s new launch system. It will be placed on top of the large super heavy booster and will be powered by 3 raptor engines. Musk said the SN8’s tanks will be hardly filled, with hopes that it will be beneficial with respect to weight ratio at ignition. Musk also stated that he hopes to see Starship land on Mars, but that’s a long shot.
SpaceX’s CEO tweeted on Wednesday, November 25 that “a lot of things need to go right” and added that Starship had “maybe a one-third chance” of landing intact. Thus the long wait (or at least it feels like it), because as we all know, Musk aspires to perfect his masterpieces.
SpaceX has delayed the launching until December to have more time rectifying the spaceship, be it the cryogenic proof test, or going through static raptor fires prior to the official launch.
The exciting news is that Starships 9 and 10 will be substantially ready and apt to follow, once SN8 takes off. What year do you think we will land on Mars?