SpaceX announces new Starship Flight 4 date, adds Hot-stage Jettison to the timeline, more

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Elon Musk’s SpaceX has announced the earliest date of Starship Flight 4 i.e. 6th June 2024. The spaceflight company has also published a detailed timeline of planned flight events on its official website.

In the events’ timeline, SpaceX added an interesting new event named “Hot-stage Jettison”. SpaceX added a Hot Stage Ring on top of the Super Heavy rocket booster used in Starship Flight 2.

In short, a hot stage ring is used to protect the 1st stage rocket booster from the Starship engine burn and resultant heat. A hot stage ring helps ease the stage separation process by acting as a middle structure between the 1st and 2nd stages — the rocket booster and the ship respectively.

Hot-stage Jettison

So, what is the Hot-stage Jettison phenomenon? In its Flight 3 report, SpaceX detailed what it learned from this Starship orbital flight test and how the company is upgrading its systems to mitigate previously made mistakes.

Hot-stage Jettison is the process that ejects the Hot-stage Ring from the Super Heavy rocket booster after stage separation is completed. According to SpaceX, this will be done to reduce the mass of the booster as it returns to Earth and help in the landing of the Super-Heavy rocket.

Upgrades derived from the flight test will debut on the next launch from Starbase on Flight 4, as we turn our focus from achieving orbit to demonstrating the ability to return and reuse Starship and Super Heavy. The team incorporated numerous hardware and software improvements in addition to operational changes including the jettison of the Super Heavy’s hot-stage adapter following boostback to reduce booster mass for the final phase of flight.SpaceX / Flight 3 Report

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Closeup of the Starship interstage as we can clearly see the Flight 4 Hot-stage Ring (adapter) between the Super Heavy Booster 11 (B11) and Ship 29 as SpaceX tests it by loading 10 million pounds of propellant (wet dress rehearsal) on 28th May 2024 at Starbase, Texas.
Closeup of the Starship interstage as we can clearly see the Flight 4 Hot-stage Ring (adapter) between the Super Heavy Booster 11 (B11) and Ship 29 as SpaceX tests it by loading 10 million pounds of propellant (wet dress rehearsal) on 28th May 2024 at Starbase, Texas. Credit: SpaceX via X, diagram labeled by Iqtidar Ali / TeslaOracle.com.

According to SpaceX’s Flight 4 plan, “Hot-staging (Starship Raptor ignition and stage separation)” will happen at T+ 2 minutes 45 seconds. The Hot-stage Jettison event will take place at T+ 3 minutes 54 seconds.

So, there is exactly a 1 minute 9 seconds difference between Hot-staging and Hot-stage Jettison events. A CG artist animated the Hot-stage Jettison as we can witness in the following video:

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Flight 4 Starship (Ship 29 + Booster 11) going through a wet dress rehearsal on 28th May 2024.
Flight 4 Starship (Ship 29 + Booster 11) going through a wet dress rehearsal on 28th May 2024. Credit: SpaceX / X (Twitter).

Starship Flight 4 Date

SpaceX initially set the date for Starship Flight 4 for 5th June. But yesterday, the spaceflight company announced that the date is now set to 6th June.

Flight 4 orbital launch test of Starship is still pending final approval from the FAA. The launch license is usually published on the FAA website on Wednesdays and SpaceX has now set the flight on Thursday 6th June.

June 6th and 7th were previously set as backup windows for the Flight 4 launch. But the first date is now set to 06/06/2024.

“Flight 4 of Starship is now targeted to launch as early as June 6, pending regulatory approval,” SpaceX announced in an official post on X yesterday.

SpaceX performed the flight rehearsal/wet dress rehearsal (WDR) test on Flight 4 Starship on 28th May at Starbase, Texas. The test was performed twice because in the 1st attempt, the propellant was not fully filled into the Starship.

In the 2nd attempt, SpaceX loaded Starship 29 and Booster 11 with 10 million pounds of propellant. “Starship and Super Heavy loaded with more than 10 million pounds of propellant in a rehearsal ahead of Flight 4,” SpaceX announced on X (Twitter).

After the WDR, SpaceX also re-tested the Orbital Launch Mount (OLM) water deluge system at full capacity to assess its flight readiness (watch the update video below).

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SpaceX conducts a wet dress rehearsal test of Flight 4 Starship by loading 10 million pounds of propellant. A few missing TPS heat shield tiles can be seen at the aft (bottom) section of the 2nd stage (Ship 29).
SpaceX conducts a wet dress rehearsal test of Flight 4 Starship by loading 10 million pounds of propellant. A few missing TPS heat shield tiles can be seen at the aft (bottom) section of the 2nd stage (Ship 29). Credit: SpaceX / X (Twitter).

The objective of the Flight 4 test is to assess and demonstrate the thermal endurance of Starship, as described by Elon Musk earlier. SpaceX engineers and workers have been observed working hard on the thermal protection system (TPS) heat shield tiles on Ship 29.

In the last few images shared by SpaceX, a few TPS tiles can still be seen missing at the aft (bottom) section of Ship 29 (see picture above). However, SpaceX will of course complete the heat shield tiles before testing the vehicle for launch on Thursday.

Video: Starbase updates by NasaSpaceFlight. Flight 4 Starship WDR and OLM water deluge system tests.
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Stay tuned for future updates on Starship and SpaceX, Follow us on:
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Latest Starship Developments

Iqtidar Ali
Iqtidar Alihttp://www.teslaoracle.com
Iqtidar has been writing about Tesla, Elon Musk, and EVs for more than 3 years on XAutoWorld.com, many of his articles have been republished on CleanTechnica and InsideEVs, maintains a healthy relationship with the Tesla community across the Social Media sphere. You can reach him on Twitter @IqtidarAlii

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