SpaceX Starship to Make Its Biggest Hop Yet

SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted that the Starship has a one in three chance of landing in one piece

    2020/12/04

NSFW    BOCCA CHICA, TEXAS — A SpaceX Starship prototype will make its highest hop yet as early as Friday, Dec. 3.

Ars Technica reports that Starship prototype Serial Number 8 will fire its three Raptor engines and take off from the SpaceX South Texas launch site, the company's rocket production facility, test site and space port in the remote village of Boca Chica.

SpaceX founder and chief engineer Elon Musk on Tuesday said the Starship prototype will attempt to fly to an altitude of 50,000 feet, or 15 kilometers, as part of the first high-altitude test flight for the spacecraft. The company has permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to conduct a Starship launch from its Texas facility on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, according to the FAA's website.

This will take it above nearly 90 percent of Earth's atmosphere. Ars Technica reports this will allow SpaceX to perform several new tests. These are tests of the Starship's body flaps, switching from propellant from the main fuel tanks to those used for landing burns, and the spaceship's ability to reorient itself for returning to the launch site.

Afterwards the Starship will make a controlled descent back to the landing pad at the Boca Chica facility.

Musk tweeted on Wednesday, November 25 that a "lot of things need to go right" and added that the Starship had "maybe [a] 1/3[c] chance" of landing intact.
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