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SpaceX can begin testing its spaceship Starship this week

  Starship's first mission will be the Moon for the time being.
Enlarge / Starship's first mission will be the Moon.

Elon Musk / Twitter

For months In South Texas SpaceX has put together an upper level trial for the next generation system. This "Starship" prototype is anything but space-efficient, but it will allow the company to test the vehicle's ability to "hop" from the spaceport and then land on the ground again.

On Friday, the company sent a message to residents in the area, in which it had been announced to test the vehicle as early as the week of March 18, and it would become the main highway 4 for non-residents during the tests lock. Presumably, the gazers, who publish daily images and videos from the site on various social media sites to be reduced.

On Sunday, company founder Elon Musk confirmed on Twitter that SpaceX was already near testing. Musk said the integration work was still to be done on the test vehicle and its Raptor rocket engine and the first jumps would take off, but only "barely." At some point, the test vehicle "Starhopper" will have three engines, but at the moment it seems as if the company would start with just one.

During a tweetstorm summed up on the / r / spacex subreddit, Musk went on to share all sorts of additional information about the test flights. (As we have already mentioned, there are several reasons why Musk disseminates so much information about the development of Starship in South Texas.)

Heat Shield Tests

Much of Musk's comments focused on the heat shield of the vehicle SpaceX is trying to Design a spacecraft that can land on Earth through its thick atmosphere and take off again shortly thereafter. "A spaceship must be able to fly again immediately after landing," Musk [1945921] said. "Zero Refurbishment."

The last iteration of Starship's heat shield – and the design seems to change quickly, as one might expect in prototyping – with hexagonal tiles. Musk then shared a video in which he said the tiles were heated to 1650 Kelvin (1375 degrees Celsius), adding that the entire heat shield "Hexagonal tiles used on the widest windward side, no shield on the leeward required, transpiration cooling at hotspots. "

From orkital flights, Musk said it is seeking regulatory approval for take-offs both from South Texas' location near Boca Chica and the launch complexes in Cape Kennedy, Florida. SpaceX likes to work experimentally, at least from the Texas location, because it has autonomy for the location and does not have to tune in with other launch providers.

As always with the extremely ambitious Starship and the associated Super Heavy rocket program. It's hard to say how much progress is actually made. Given that SpaceX now has a Raptor rocket engine that drives both stages, and is approaching some flight testing, the programs are clearly moving. This is testimony to both Musk's determination and the brilliance of his engineers.

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