Elon Musk Just Made An Urgent Announcement: Starship UPDATE
After the first launch test didn’t go as planned, SpaceX is getting ready to launch its Starship rocket one more time, with a second attempt scheduled for mid-November. And Elon Musk just made an urgent announcement. What is it all about? Let’s find out in today’s episode!
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In the first three minutes of the upcoming Starship test flight, SpaceX will have answers to several urgent concerns. Were the improvements made to the Starship launch pad in Texas sufficient to withstand the rocket’s strong thrust? Are the Raptor engines on the rocket more reliable than they were during the first Starship test flight in April? Did the Super Heavy booster of the rocket safely detached from the Starship upper stage?
The answers to these concerns will demonstrate how fast SpaceX can proceed with all of its other Starship-related goals. Launching Starlink Internet satellites is one of the next steps, which will speed up the network’s ability to establish direct connections with consumer cell phones. NASA requires SpaceX to test in-orbit refueling for Starship flights to the Moon, and engineers want to show off retrieving the spacecraft’s massive booster and upper stage—steps that are essential to achieving full reusable rockets.
However, the rocket has to first reach space. That did not occur on April 20, the first full-scale test flight of Starship, but SpaceX gained a lot of knowledge from that flight. As the Super Heavy booster produced almost 15 million pounds of thrust from its methane-fueled Raptor engines, engineers discovered they needed to strengthen the launch mount, which was damaged.
Beneath the pedestal that the Starship rocket rests on during the countdown, there is a water-cooled steel plate on the upgraded launch pad. According to SpaceX, this water deluge design will be more capable of withstanding the heat and noise generated during liftoff by the Super Heavy booster. Car-sized fragments of debris were flung into the nearby marshes when Starship took off in April, blasting away concrete slabs from the launch. This time, SpaceX hopes to stay away from that.
On the April test launch, six of the 33 Raptor engines on the Super Heavy rocket failed either in flight or prior to liftoff. The vehicle lost control of the rocket a little over two minutes into the flight when propellant leaks and flames in the booster’s engine compartment finally severed connection with the rocket’s primary flight computer. About four minutes after liftoff, a self-destruct device ultimately triggered, causing it to explode at an altitude of about 128,000 feet (39 kilometers). The Gulf of Mexico was showered by rocket debris.
Even though the rocket that eventually became Starship was originally shown by SpaceX seven years ago, the program is still very much in the experimental stage. The design is continuously improved by engineers, who identify issues, address them, and conduct tests. Therefore, the purpose of the second full-scale Starship test launch is primarily learning opportunities. However, some results are better than others, let’s face it.
What should SpaceX reveal?
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