The sixth prototype of the SpaceX prototype in full According to SpaceX founders and CEO Elon Muska Starship, it has successfully completed a key static fire test of its Raptor engines. , Prototype called. The starship “SN5” is now ready to pass a flight test with a short duration of 150 meters (almost 500 feet), which would be the furthest that one of these test spacecraft achieved the planned SpaceX development program.
SpaceX manufactures and tests starship prototypes (which are designed by “SN” followed by their number in order) since last year, after the company first built a sub-scale demonstrator, which essentially consisted of only a single-engine starship base Raptor mounted to demonstrate flight and landing capabilities at low altitude.
Since then, SpaceX has been producing large-scale demonstration prototypes to perform more test flights, initially trying to move immediately to high-altitude testing. These were known as Mk1and Mk2, and Mk1 was destroyed when testing pressure tanks, while Mk2 was scrapped and the company changed its focus to Mk3 (renamed SN1, starting a new series naming convention). Prototypes that have evolved since then have been rapidly developed and tested, with SN3 and SN4 suffering catastrophic failures during the testing process.
However, SpaceX is successfully testing the SN5 prototype, as it is today, and is now moving to the first low-altitude “hop” flight of the test vehicle in full.
Finally, SpaceX hopes to replace all of its Starship launch vehicles – including the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy – as well as for use with its upcoming Super Heavy booster to transport large amounts of cargo to Mars to create a permanent human presence on the red planet. Obviously, he still has a lot of tests and many iterations that must pass before this noble goal is achieved, but Musk and SpaceX seem to be interested in a fast pace of iteration and testing with a relatively public audience. Extensive testing is quite standard for space vehicle development, but doing it outdoors is new, as is the speed with which SpaceX creates real test articles and then uses the results to create new (and hopefully improved) versions.