SpaceX has launched the SN10 – the tenth iteration of its current prototype series of starships, a massive reusable spacecraft developing. The starship SN10 flew from Boca Chica, Texas, where SpaceX is developing the vehicle. It flew to a height of about 10 km or 32,000 feet before it would maneuver to re-orientate to a friction-assisted landing descent.
vary from The last two starship prototypes to fly this highHowever, the flight of about 6 minutes did not end in a fireball. [UPDATE: Well, not immediately. The rocket did blow up while stationary on the landing pad a few minutes after landing, potentially due to a leak]. Instead, it completed its landing flip maneuver and slowed itself down for a soft touchdown, with the rocket remaining vertical and intact later.
This was a great result, and was nominal in all respects according to SpaceX’s live stream. But why did the eruption come at this point? This is partly down to the way in which it is developing this vehicle. All rocket development involves unpredictable events and sub-optimal results, but SpaceX has a few things at work that mean efforts are subject to average sensory versus your average spacecraft builder.
First, it is doing it out in the open – the Boca Chica facility is basically just a couple small buildings, some concrete pads, some storage tanks and some scaffolding. It is very close to a public roadway (which closes during the test while the surrounding area is evacuated), and people can simply drive and set up the camera to see what movie is going on. is. This is not at all how inherited rocket makers have usually done things.
Secondly, Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of SpaceX, is adamant that SpaceX follows fast with the development of Starship and pursues the prototype’s development strategy. This means that it is building and assembling the starship prototype together, making small changes as it goes on for a long, multi-month run before going back after each test and building and flying another version. Proceed rather than analyze.
An attempt made earlier in the day was cut short after a brief engine fire, when equipment readings from the rocket gave a slightly higher thrust, which described Musk as “conservative”. The fix installed by SpaceX was actually over-adjusting the range to avoid the onset of miscarriage.
In the investigation of the causes of the explosion after successful flight and landing maneuver during the next flight to the starship, the altitude of these test flights is likely to increase. Ultimately, the goal is to reach orbit, of course, but SpaceX is trying to launch something that remains atmospheric, but not before it attempts to make that trip.