A prototype of the rocket SN5 Starship made its first flight

The company SpaceX conducted the first flight test prototype of the second stage super-heavy launch Starship. During the tests the prototype SN5 climbed to 150 meters, moved to the side and made a soft landing on another part of the test site. Stream trials took place on the YouTube channel NASASpaceFlight.

Starship is a promising super-heavy rocket that SpaceX is developing as a replacement for the Falcon rockets. It consists of two fully reusable stages, and the second up passenger or cargo space ship. The missile will be displayed into orbit a weight of more than a hundred tons, and at the same time after a payload both stages will be able to make a soft landing at the launch site or offshore platform. In addition, after reaching the orbit, the second stage will be able to refuel from the other Starship, adapted for refueling, thereby greatly increasing the possibilities for delivery of goods to other cosmic bodies. Owing to these characteristics, and capabilities of SpaceX plans in the coming years begin to run on this rocket for a manned mission to create habitable bases on Mars and the moon.

During the development of Starship engineers SpaceX has chosen an iterative approach, in which they constantly make major changes to the project and test their early prototypes. The first prototype of the second stage called Starhopper last summer successfully demonstrated the operation of the engine and the possibility of a jet landing, but subsequent testing of the prototypes was not so successful: the first four full size apparatus (Mk1, SN1, SN3 and SN4) were destroyed at various stages of preliminary testing before flying.

Prototype SN5 successfully passed the cryogenic tests with injection of fuel, and then test firing and engine starting. On the prototype set only one methane-oxygen Raptor engine, but the final version of the second stage will be six. August 5, engineers at the second attempt began first flight tests:

Immediately after takeoff, the rocket began to tilt and to move in the direction, but since the engine has thrust vectoring it for a few seconds compensated for the offset, and the rocket flew almost straight up. Then the camera briefly hung at the same height and started to decline. It should be noted that during the lowering of the Starship was rather strongly bowed, but it was dropped without displacement. After the cloud of dust and smoke cleared, the broadcast was seen that the missile successfully landed a few dozen metres from the start.

The first full launch of the final version of the missile is tentatively scheduled for 2021. SpaceX plans to use a Starship, not only for space launches, but for suborbital passenger flights between the continents. It is expected that this will reduce the time between major cities in different parts of the Earth up to several tens of minutes. The company will use only the second step in a passenger configuration and a sea platform located near the cities of.

Gregory Copies

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