Tag: Interstellar

SpaceX interstellar spacecraft prototype SN9 completes first static ignition test

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Static ignition is a routine pre-launch inspection. Static ignition means that the rocket engine starts when the rocket is fixed on the ground. SpaceX is preparing for the test flight of SN9. If everything goes according to plan, SN9 will be launched soon. It is expected that the entire test flight process will be similar to the test flight of its predecessor SN8 last month.

On December 9 last year, the interplanetary spacecraft prototype SN8 completed the first high-altitude test of the SpaceX interplanetary spacecraft program and rose to an altitude of about 12.5 kilometers above the ground. Prior to this, SpaceX had conducted test flights of three interplanetary spacecraft prototypes, but the maximum flight altitude was only 150 meters.

The fly in the ointment is that SN8 did not successfully land and hit the ground and exploded violently. But the prototype of this interstellar spacecraft has almost completed every goal set by SpaceX in its test flight program. The company’s founder and CEO Elon Musk announced the great success of the test flight.

SpaceX is developing an interstellar spacecraft designed to send humans and payloads to the moon, Mars and other distant planets, and ultimately meet all the company’s space flight needs. The entire system consists of two parts: a 50-meter-high interstellar spacecraft and a huge super heavy rocket booster.

Musk said that both interstellar spacecraft and super heavy rockets can achieve rapid and reusable use. The super heavy rocket will return to Earth for a vertical landing after the spacecraft is lifted off, just like SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rocket first-stage boosters. But Musk recently announced that the recovery of the super heavy rocket will be more accurate than the landing of the Falcon rocket’s first-stage booster, and ideally land directly to the launch pad to shorten the turnaround time between launches.

At the same time, the interstellar spacecraft will make multiple round trips between Earth and Mars or any other target. A super-heavy rocket equipped with about 30 Raptor engines can send an interstellar spacecraft into earth orbit. Musk also said that an interplanetary spacecraft equipped with six Raptor engines is sufficient to enter space from the surface of the moon or Mars.

It should be clear that the static ignition test performed by SN9 may not be the only such test before launch. For example, the SN8 conducted four static ignition tests in more than a month before the high-altitude test flight. (Chenchen)

2021-01-07