SpaceX intends to significantly accelerate its Starship super-heavy return vehicle development program in the new year. In particular, the executive director and founder of SpaceX Elon Musk noted on Twitter that the company will strive to use both launch sites at its Boca Chica spaceport, and in just a few months it will begin testing the Super Heavy accelerator.
The company will install prototype launch vehicles at each of the launch sites. As a reminder, SpaceX has recently placed the next Starship SN9 prototype (the ninth in the current series) at Site B at its launch site in Texas.
The SN9 will be the next rocket to go through active testing after the company successfully lifted the previous SN8 prototype to an altitude of about 12 km, and then performed a controlled drop and roll to a vertical position before a jet landing – this is a decisive maneuver that will be used in the serial version of the ship. SN8 crashed: the automatics failed to compensate for the speed gained during the fall, but SpaceX still achieved key goals in that test and even “exceeded the plan.”
Now SN9 will pass ground tests, and then will be sent to flight tests. This will provide the team with even more valuable data for further tests to eventually reach orbit using the Starship prototype spacecraft. Musk’s announcement that the two prototypes will be installed next to each other at sites A and B at the Boca Chica cosmodrome may indicate that the pace of test flights will be accelerated to match the company’s desire to move forward with the rocket as quickly as possible. which has high hopes for the exploration of the moon, and even flights to Mars.
Meanwhile, the news that trials of the Super Heavy accelerator may begin soon is also a reason to look with optimism at the year 2021 of the Starship project and SpaceX as a whole. Super Heavy is the booster (first stage) that SpaceX will use for Starship orbital launches and ultimately for deep space, including Mars. The Super Heavy will have a height of about 70 meters (the ship itself is another 50 meters) and will include 28 Raptor engines to provide the carrying capacity necessary to overcome Earth’s gravity and put Starship into orbit.
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