19 April (UPI) — On Thursday, SpaceX will try once more to launch the Super Heavy booster and Starship rocket on their first test flight.
The launch window, which starts at 8:28 a.m. CST and lasts for 62 minutes, opens on Thursday at the latest from SpaceX Starbase in Texas.
Because it is an essential step towards launching a manned expedition to the moon and later Mars, the test flight is eagerly anticipated.
One of the largest spacecraft ever launched will be the rocket. Because a starship may simultaneously transport crew and cargo into space, its size is very important.
394 feet is the height of the Starship and Super Heavy stack. At the Starship facility in Boca Chica, Texas, SpaceX built a launch and capture tower that is almost 500 feet tall. It serves as a launchpad and is used to stack the first-stage rocket and upper-stage spacecraft.
When a pressurization problem with the first stage was identified around nine minutes before launch on Monday, a prior launch attempt was canceled. According to NASA Space Flight, the problem was a blocked pressurization valve. The pre-launch procedure was then considered by SpaceX as a wet dress rehearsal, according to Space.com.
The purpose of the countdown is to provide the teams a chance to advance that T-zero time in a coordinated manner and, more importantly, to identify any problems before the ignition sequence. Therefore, the countdown succeeded today, stated Kate Tice, manager of SpaceX Quality Systems Engineering and host of SpaceX launch coverage, during the launch webcast.
A successful test of the spaceship, according to SpaceX, will be judged by “how much we can learn.”
According to SpaceX, after taking off, Starship will go across the Gulf of Mexico and towards the Pacific Ocean. About two minutes after launch, the first stage will separate, sending the Super Heavy rocket into a dive into the Gulf of Mexico.
After the starship separates, its six Raptor engines will start up and run for more than six minutes before shutting down. Prior to descending and splashing down in the Pacific Ocean off the shore of Kauai, Hawaii, it will coast for the most of the remaining 90 minutes of the flight’s estimated duration. Approximately 77 minutes after launch, the spacecraft will re-enter low-Earth orbit rather than complete an orbit.
The team won’t try a vertical landing of Starship or a catch of the Super Heavy booster during the maiden flight test, according to SpaceX.
To launch Starship into orbit, a Super Heavy rocket with 33 Raptor engines is required. The combined force produced by the engines is expected to be 16.5 million pounds. According to Space.com, liquid oxygen, and liquid methane can be created on Mars and are burned in engines.
However, the Raptor engines have not yet traveled to space. Raptor engines were tested in February, and 31 of 33 on the Booster 7 were operational.
Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, claimed 31 engines would be sufficient to enter orbit.
In total, 31 engines were fired, according to Musk’s tweet: “Team turned off one engine just before start and one stopped itself.” But there are still enough engines to enter orbit.
According to SpaceX, there were the most simultaneous engine ignitions ever. The business emphasizes the significance of each step in the launch and flight process by describing the static fire sequence of the Raptor engines as “increasingly complex.”
The planned launch on Thursday will give SpaceX the chance to put various systems to the test.
SpaceX described its goals in a document it submitted to the Federal Aviation Administration. “SpaceX intends to collect as much data as possible during flight to quantify entry dynamics and better understand what the vehicle experiences in a flight regime that is extremely difficult to accurately predict or replicate computationally,” the company said.
Following earlier failures with the new line of satellite technology, SpaceX successfully launched a group of second-generation Starlink satellites into orbit on Wednesday. Starship was initially supposed to launch Starlink V2 satellites, but those plans have been shelved because of its ongoing testing.
21 Starlink V2 Mini satellites were put into orbit by SpaceX in February, but they deorbited earlier than anticipated. The Starlink V1.5 variant was then substituted for the V2 during a launch by SpaceX in March.