A high-ranking SpaceX director said the Starship Mk1 prototype could launch for the first time before the end of 2019, and a flight debut hoping SpaceX will successfully demonstrate the exotic "parachutist" landing method of the next generation spacecraft.
SpaceX is in the late stages of the first full-fledged Starship prototype known as Mk1 (in Boca Chica, Texas) and Mk2 (in Cocoa, Florida). The Texas-based Mk1 prototype is by far the most advanced and was featured prominently on September 28 by CEO Elon Musk's presentation of the Starship update, having reached its final height of ~ 50m just a few days previously (1
It is now clear that more than a little showmanship was involved in the work leading to the unveiling of Starship Mk1 led. Within a week or two of the event, SpaceX technicians had separated the bow and stern sections of Starship, removed all three Raptor engines, and uninstalled the ship's wings and canards, among other things.
Apart from the dematization of the nose and tail section and the removal of flaps, canards and raptors, the aero covers (runways, canards, flaps, legs) that were temporarily attached to the outside of the Starship were also removed. A track cover might have been a victim of strong winds, but all of the above hardware was carefully stored on the floor around Starship Mk1 and will be installed more permanently in the coming weeks.
Nevertheless, Starship Mk1 obviously has a lot to do before it can seriously be considered ready to fly. On a positive note, the SpaceX team in South Texas (and others from Florida and California) has worked around the clock for several days since Musk's presentation.
The last two weeks of Starship Mk1 activity revolved around the installation of the many critical parts needed for the rocket to function. This included thousands of feet of power cables, avionics cables, and fuel supply and transmission pipes. Power controllers and flight computers on an industrial scale and much more.
The sheer volume and range of pipelines installed on Starship Mk1, however, confirms that the rocket will be a high-fidelity prototype testing a wide range of autogenous pressurization capabilities can and Raptor engine ignition. The mirrored presence of three sets of smaller tubes on the vehicle raceway (essentially a supply corridor) is a strong indication that the smaller Raptor and Starship reservoirs (in the bow region of Mk1) are closely linked.
Part of the surplus hot gas produced by Raptor can be taken to supply COPVs, which can then be used to re-ignite the engines in flight. More likely, the small pipes are more of a one-way conduit from Starship's storage tanks to the Raptor engines and, as Musk has indicated, the cryogenic liquid propellant in these collection tanks is gasified with electric heaters or gas generators.
Given the above circumstances, the close adherents already realized that the Mk1 spacecraft needed some significant work before it was ready to fly. On October 22, SpaceX Senior Director, Gary Henry, confirmed this suspicion, announcing that the 20-mile Starship Mk1 test debut was scheduled for two months at the earliest (December 2019).
According to CEO Elon Musk and other SpaceX engineers, this 20km flight debut will prove that Starship's radically new approach to flight and landing is feasible. Musk has repeatedly described that Starship will in no way be a real space plane and has stated that his "wings" and "canards" are not meant to be wings or wings. Instead, Starship invades Earth's atmosphere, slows its horizontal speed to almost zero, and continues its free fall directly. He controls his trajectory with the help of the front and rear flaps in the same way as parachutists their body and limbs.
] This bizarre approach ends with an aggressive landing maneuver in which Starship fires, thrusts, and dodges its engines to cancel the horizontal velocity generated by this sideways firing and lands vertically on Earth (or Mars) , Theoretically, this strategy will radically reduce the amount of fuel Starship needs to land in the atmosphere, but it is a long way from the trials SpaceX has made with Falcon 9, and the first flight of Starship Mk1 will hopefully be viable Prove a solution.
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