The SN8 Starship model of SpaceX came through the fourth engine firing test to ensure that the model is ready for the coming launch next week. The test mission happened last Tuesday at SpaceX’s Texas facility close to the Boca Chica community. SpaceX usually pegs the space vehicle to the ground before firing the engine to test its potential. The Serial No. 8 (SN8) Starship will be breaking the limits for the distance that Starship prototypes have covered in the past by moving through 15 kilometers.
SpaceX’s chief executive, Elon Musk, stated that the engineers were testing the model’s potential covering more distance than anticipated. Musk posted on Twitter that they are looking forward to the rocket’s maneuvers in the upcoming mission before they can declare it ready for commercial missions. SpaceX has been preparing for a substitute space payload transporter through its investment in Starship prototypes. This space vehicle’s missions will be to deploy people and cargoes to Mars and the moon and deploy satellites to different orbits, among other space operations.
The test prototype to authenticate this line of space vehicles will involve the Starship spacecraft and Super Heavy rocket, which the company hopes to retrieve for reuse as its primary aims. These two boosters will be running with the support of the company’s Raptor engine that combusts liquefied methane and oxygen. The rocket will be running on six engines to ensure the rocket has enough power to run through the entire mission.
Super Heavy booster is still in the production process, although the company has already tried Starship test vehicles without it. For instance, Starhopper, SN5, and SN6 took off the ground in three different incidents and successfully proved to the engineers the adjustments they needed to make.
The above prototypes were running on a single-engine and successfully covered 150 meters. Nevertheless, the SN8 Starship prototype will exceed this distance considering its running on three engines, its nose, and stability flaps. Additionally, the technology contained in the SN8 prototype is advanced and will prove the efforts that the engineering team has been working on since the last test flight.
Elon Musk stated that he has no high expectations for the SN8 since it is a prototype and will prove the spacecraft portions that need adjustment or replacement with suitable material. He added that they would be unveiling SN9 and ten, which will have the closest appearance to the final model. Finally, Musk reported that the last static test was a failure since the body and other prototype components were weaker than anticipated in supporting the burn out of the engine. Nevertheless, he added that SN8 would give the technical team a view of what they want to develop.