On October 22, SpaceXs bokaqika base near the coast installed the nose cone of the SpaceX prototype SN8. The SN8 is now flying and is ready to jump to an altitude of about 9 miles (15 kilometers) from the ground without driving.
The SN8 has taken a big step towards the test flight, with three Raptor engines powered on during a static ignition test earlier this week. Elon Musk, SpaceXs founder and chief executive, said last month that the SN8 prototype could be tested again for static ignition before liftoff.
The X-generation spaceship is also being used to launch its large spacecraft and other space vehicles to the moon, and will also be used to carry out space missions to the moon.
The 165 foot (50 meter) spacecraft will be launched from the ground with a giant rocket, the super heavy rocket, which does not even have a flying prototype. Musk said that in the whole space system, both the Starship and the super heavy rocket will be completely reusable; the super heavy rocket will return to earth in the form of vertical landing, while the spacecraft can travel to the moon, Mars or other destinations many times. To be clear, the Starship has enough thrust to launch from the moon and Mars, but needs the help of super heavy rockets to leave the earth.
SpaceX is moving towards the final starship design through the development of a series of prototypes, three of which have undergone short-range jump tests. For example, the Starship prototypes SN5 and SN6 rose to 500 feet (150 meters) above the ground in August and September, respectively.
The Starship prototypes SN5 and SN6 have only one Raptor engine and no nose cone. The SN8 is a completely different design, so it can fly higher; in addition to the nose cone and three Raptor engines, the SN8 also has fuselage flaps to increase flight stability. Musk said the final starship would be powered by six Raptor engines, while the super heavy rocket would carry about 30 Raptor engines.
The goal of SpaceX is to build a mature starship system and put it into use in a relatively short period of time. The Starship system is also supporting NASAs Artemis program to send astronauts back to the moon in 2024. (Chen Chen)
Source: Qiao JunJing, editor in charge of Netease science and Technology Report_ NBJ11279