After completing a static Starship fire test earlier this month, SpaceX has nowhere to go but upwards. A company official says It is now able to perform the first orbital flight test of its long-awaited mega-rocket, pending a launch license.
On Tuesday, a SpaceX official said Starship’s first orbital flight could take place in March. Speaking at the Space Mobility Conference in Orlando, Florida, Gary Henry, senior director of national security space solutions at SpaceX, said that Ship Static Fire Testwhich took place on February 9, was the “last box to tick” before the rocket’s first orbital launch attempt, SpaceNews reported. “The vehicle is in good condition. The cushion is in good condition,” Henry reportedly said.
Static fire test saw Starship’s Super Heavy Booster increase 31 from its 33 Raptor 2 engines, which CEO Elon Musk judge as “still enough engines to reach orbit.” During the conference, Henry also suggested that SpaceX would not conduct another test before an orbital launch attempt.
The company still needs to procure a Federal Aviation Administration launch license before we can see Starship fly, which SpaceX expects to happen in the “very near future,” according to Henry.
SpaceX is eager to launch Starship, a fully reusable superheavyweight launch vehicle designed to travel to Earth orbit, the Moon, and possibly other destinations like Mars. The company has endeavored perform an orbital launch test of its mega-rocket since the summer of 2021, conducting a series of limited static fire tests booster motors. In November, SpaceX flaming 14 Raptors simultaneously for 10 seconds followed by a wet dress rehearsal of the 394-foot-tall (120-meter) fully integrated rocket on January 23. most recent protest was the company first full-full-scale static fire test of the system, even with two of the Raptor engines do not participate.
Waiting orbital test flight involves the launch of Starship into space, in which the upper floor will complete less than one full orbit around the Earth before re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere. After its orbital test, SpaceX will continue with operational Starship launches that will serve as a test program, according to Henry. “We are converging very, very quickly to a system that we can operationalize,” he said. The company will begin by launching its next-generation Starlink satellites in orbit, which Henry says are “very patiently waiting to be launched on Starship”. The Company’s Elevator Way The Falcon 9 rocket is unable to deliver the oversized Gen2 Starlinks into orbit, hence the company’s urgency to get the Starship program off the ground.
SpaceX also has a $2.89 billion contract with NASAusing Starship to land humans on the Moon by the end of 2025 as part of the space agency’s Artemis 3 mission.
There’s a lot to do on this highly anticipated Starship orbital test, although the test flight isn’t perfect, just good enough for SpaceX to plan its next mega-rocket launches.
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