SpaceX has conducted two static fire tests on the latest and improved Starship prototype SN15. The 2nd test was performed within 24 hours of the first one yesterday.
If test data from these static fires suggests that everything is good with the Raptor engines and the header tank, we can expect the Starship SN15 high-altitude test this week or on the weekend.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk did respond to a tweet regarding these tests but did not explicitly mention a flight test date.
From Musk’s above tweet, it seems that the 2nd static fire was specifically aimed at testing the header tanks. Since it’s all good so far according to Musk, hopefully Raptor engines would also be find after these tests.
Mentioning some fun facts, Elon Musk said that Sacha Cohen Baron’s movie Dictator was the inspiration for Starship’s sharp and pointy nose cone design.
“It is too round on the top. It needs to be pointy — Round is not scary. Pointy is scary” says the main character of the movie (Aladeen) says to his neculear scientist as he sees the rocket design.
Musk first disclosed this fun fact on the Joe Rogan podcast. You literally told them to make the Starship more pointy because of the movie ‘The Dictator? asked Rogan.
“Yep! and they know it too,” Musk responded with a laugh, “It’s not like they’re unaware of it. I thought it would be funny to make it more pointy, so we did.”
SpaceX has made many improvements to the SN15 prototype over its predecessor the SN11 which took a tumble mid-air and exploded during the landing phase last month.
The highest expectation towards SN15 is a perfect landing which SpaceX has not been able to achieve yet, SN10 did land at first but exploded minutes later. The successful SN15 landing will be a major milestone for SpaceX.
However, Musk has previously mentioned that the SN20 will have major technological enhancements compared to the previous Starship prototypes.
Next major technology rev is at SN20. Those ships will be orbit-capable with heat shield & stage separation system. Ascent success probability is high.
However, SN20+ vehicles will probably need many flight attempts to survive Mach 25 entry heating & land intact.Elon Musk on Twitter.
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