Elon Musk’s SpaceX is about to take its boldest leap yet with a giant starship round-the-world test flight.
This is the largest and most powerful rocket of all time, with the ambitious goal of transporting humans to the Moon and Mars.
The starship, which juts out about 120 meters into the sky over southern Texas, could take off Monday with no one on board. Musk’s company got an OK from the US Federal Aviation Administration on Friday.
It’s the first time two sections of Starship have been launched together. An early version of the sci-fi-looking upper stage reached the stratosphere several miles a few years ago, and he crashed four times before finally standing upright in 2021. The towering first-stage rocket booster, called Super Heavy, soars for the first time. .
SpaceX will not attempt to land any rockets or spacecraft in this demo. everything falls into the sea.
“I’m not saying it’s on track, but I guarantee you’ll be excited. It won’t be boring,” Musk promised at a Morgan Stanley conference last month. “I don’t know, but I think we have about a 50% chance of reaching orbit hopefully.”
Here’s a rundown of Starship’s debut:
The stainless steel Starship has 33 main engines and 7.6 million kilograms of thrust. Musk said all but two of his methane-fueled first-stage engines fired at launch pad tests in January. Given its muscle, Starship can lift up to 250 tons, and on a trip to Mars he can accommodate 100 people. This six-engine spacecraft occupies a height of 50 meters. Musk hopes to use Starship to launch satellites into low earth orbit. This includes his own Internet Starlink for his services. Starship easily surpasses NASA’s lunar rockets, such as the Saturn V of the bygone Apollo era and the Artemis program’s Space He Launch His system. He recorded his first trip to the moon late last year. It also overtook his N1 moon rocket in the former Soviet Union, and he exploded less than a minute into flight, with no one on board.
The test flight lasts an hour and a half and does not reach full Earth orbit. Three minutes after the starship launched, the boosters were ordered to separate and fall into the Gulf of Mexico. The probe traveled east, passing through the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans before crash-landing near Hawaii. Starship is designed to be fully reusable, but nothing is saved from test flights. Harvard astrophysicist and spacecraft tracker Jonathan McDowell says he gets more excited each time a starship lands and returns from orbit unscathed. It will be an evolution,” he said.
Starships take off from the remotest tip of Texas near Boca Chica Beach. Located just below South Padre Island, about 20 miles from Brownsville. Down the road from the launch pad is the complex where SpaceX has developed and manufactured Starship prototypes for the past few years. A complex called Starbase has more than 1,800 of his employees living in Brownsville or elsewhere in the Rio Grande Valley. Texas launch pads are equipped with giant robotic arms called chopsticks that eventually grab the returning boosters as they land. SpaceX is modifying one of his two launch pads in Florida to accommodate the upcoming Starship. Florida is where SpaceX’s Falcon rockets take off with crew, space station cargo and satellites for NASA and other customers.
As usual, Musk has been very candid about his potential, and the odds of a Starship going into orbit on its first flight are at best even. He estimates there is an 80% chance that one of the ships will be in orbit by the end of the year. He expects it to be several years before it can be fully and quickly reused.
On Starship, California-based SpaceX is focused on the moon for now, with a $3 billion NASA contract to land astronauts on the moon as early as 2025 using an upper-stage spacecraft. is tied. It will be the first time an astronaut has landed on the moon in more than 50 years. Moonwalkers leave Earth via NASA’s Orion His capsule and Space His Launch System rockets, travel to a starship in orbit around the Moon, descend to the surface, and return to Orion. To reach the moon and beyond, the starship must first refuel in low earth orbit. SpaceX envisions an orbital depot that uses windowless Starships as tankers. But Starship isn’t just for his NASA. A civilian crew will be the first to fly an Earth-orbiting starship. Followed by his two private his flights to the moon.
https://www.voanews.com/a/first-test-flight-of-spacex-s-big-starship-/7052396.html First test flight of SpaceX’s Big Starship