Finally, SpaceX’s fifth Starship prototype has successfully ignited its lone Raptor engine in a test known as static fire, paving the way for the first flight of a full-scale spacecraft until this weekend.
After nearly three weeks of delays and several aborted attempts, SpaceX managed to fix a large number of relatively minor hardware errors described by CEO Elon Musk on July 28th. The first static fire attempt was originally scheduled from July 10 and ended up gradually falling a few days at a time on July 25. Thus began another series of delays after static fire attempts (with different progresses of each) were aborted on July 25, 27 (x2) and the morning of the 30th.
Luckily, though, these abortions, scrubs, and delays are finally over, at least for now. If things go according to plan over the next few days and teams are able to correct a critical issue discovered earlier this week, Starship SN5 could become the first full level of its kind to rise (intentionally). a few days from now.
Ahead of the success of the July 30 Starship SN5 static fire, Musk revealed in a tweet that the rocket’s second attempt was aborted on July 27 after Hurricane Hanna damaged a connector, presumably related to telemetry. and control. SpaceX fixed the problem and managed to stretch the test window for a few hours, allowing a second attempt later that night.
Unfortunately, Starship’s static fire was scrubbed again so Musk later described it as a crucial fuel valve that he was unable to open, as well as for [behavior]”Observed in a pump related to the steering hardware of the Raptor engine. To complete the static fire like SpaceX two days later, the” fuel spin pump “should have been completely fixed, but they could have been highlighted Raptor Push Vector Control (TVC) pump problems.
Since SpaceX spent approximately 2.5 days inspecting and repairing Starship after the third static fire, they likely had time to fix the bugs affecting Raptor TVC’s hydraulic system. Regardless, Raptor’s TVC will have to work perfectly before SpaceX advances the spacecraft’s first full-scale flight test. The 150 m (~ 500 ft) jump will be the first time a Starship prototype has been roughly the same size and built from the same materials, as an orbital-class ship will attempt a controlled flight.
Prior to the July 30 static fire, SpaceX had already introduced some temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) – used to warn maintenance zone aviators – with the FAA for the 2nd and 3rd jump test attempts. August. SpaceX will likely need 12-24 hours to analyze the data, inspect Starship and determine a timeline for the first jump attempt, but there is at least a small chance the company will pressure Starship SN5 to fly by this Sunday. Stay tuned as things unfold and the jump test comes at a more specific date.
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