SpaceX will be launching its newest Starship prototype with a finished nose cone measuring 60,000 feet next week
- SpaceX will conduct a test flight with its third Starship prototype rocket
- This vehicle is said to take off 60,000 feet and have a controlled landing
- It will also be the first to include the nose cone and flaps on the sides
- The previous prototypes performed 500 foot hops this month and August
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced on Twitter that the SN8 Startship rocket is set to fly 60,000 feet – the tallest a prototype has ever flown.
The vehicle will also be the first to sport flaps and a nose cone, which are currently under construction but should be ready for flight test by next week.
SN8 follows its predecessors, SN5 and SN6, which successfully completed 500-foot hops along with controlled landings.
Musk announced on the social media platform that a static fire test of the Raptor engine will be carried out at the event.
It has been rumored that the SN8 will contain three Raptor engines.
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SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced on Twitter that the SN8 Startship rocket is scheduled to fly 60,000 feet – the tallest a prototype has ever flown. The vehicle will also be the first to carry the flaps and nose cone, which are currently under construction but expected to be ready for flight test next week
On the day of these test flights, SpaceX must shut down the roads around its facility in Boca Chica, Texas.
The company will run a number of tests, including static fires, which are absolutely essential to do before starting.
SN8 will also be SpaceX’s first prototype equipped with flaps used for steering and the nose cone that will one day hold cargo and people traveling into space.
The company is expected to use three of its massive Raptor engines to launch the 260,000-pound rocket 60,000 feet into the air, which will be suspended for some time next week.
SN6 made its 500-foot jump earlier this month and SN5 in August.
Unlike its predecessor, which had difficulty getting into the air, this time the SN6 took off faster.
CEO Elon Musk shared a tweet following the event: “It turns out you can make anything fly, haha.”
The missile landed safely after the jump, but fell at an angle and leaned on the launch pad.
Musk said during a virtual conference earlier this month, “We are making good progress” on building the massive vehicle.
“What really hinders progress at Starship is the production system,” he said during a virtual summit between Humans and Mars.
“A year ago there was nothing there and now we have quite a lot of production capacity. So we’re building more and more ships quickly. ‘
This is the second jump a starship has made, but several earlier prototypes exploded in a trial and error learning process during ground tests.
Each mistake has taught SpaceX valuable lessons in informing about design and material changes, Musk said, adding that such changes are already being worked on on SN6, SN7 and SN8 prototypes, which are currently in various stages of assembly at the Boca Chica site.
The massive vehicle is SpaceX’s planned next-generation fully reusable launch vehicle and the center of Musk’s ambitions to make space travel affordable for humans.
Musk previously said that the lifespan of any spaceship will be around 20 to 30 years, “like an airplane”.
According to the billionaire, around three Starship flights will be launched from Earth every day, or around 1,000 flights a year, and each will have a capacity of more than 90,000 pounds.
By continually moving people over 180 million miles to Mars, Musk predicts 1,000 people by 2030 and about a million people by 2050.
Musk unveiled the first Starship prototype in 2019, hoping the rocket would fly in low orbit by March this year and have people inside by the end of 2020.