Watch SpaceX fly a prototype of its Starship rocket to its highest altitude yet

Sometime as we speak, SpaceX hopes to conduct a pivotal check flight of its next-generation Starship rocket, flying a prototype of the automobile to its highest altitude yet. The firm plans to launch the huge rocket to a top of almost 8 miles, or 12.5 kilometers, up above SpaceX’s facility in Boca Chica, Texas, earlier than touchdown the automobile again down on the bottom once more.

The check is supposed to show out Starship’s functionality of launching and touchdown upright, one thing the spacecraft will probably be anticipated to do each on Earth and on different worlds. SpaceX goals to use Starship to ship cargo and folks to deep-space locations just like the Moon and Mars. A check like this can assist reveal Starship’s means to carry out a managed flight and see if the rocket’s {hardware} — notably the three essential Raptor engines — features as anticipated.

Launch and touchdown are simply half of as we speak’s check. On its web site, SpaceX claims the Starship prototype will truly carry out “a landing flip maneuver, which would be a first for a vehicle of this size.” There aren’t many particulars concerning the maneuver publicly out there, nevertheless it’s a dangerous check that might simply go mistaken, with SpaceX CEO Elon Musk solely giving the flight a “1/3 chance” of success. SpaceX itself can also be deemphasizing the chance that the check will pull off a good launch and touchdown.

“With a test such as this, success is not measured by completion of specific objectives but rather how much we can learn, which will inform and improve the probability of success in the future as SpaceX rapidly advances development of Starship,” SpaceX wrote concerning the flight on its web site. But if all goes properly, the flight will put the corporate heading in the right direction to try much more formidable checks sooner or later, finally culminating in Starship’s first launch to orbit.

For this check, SpaceX plans to present a stay stream of the flight, which can go stay simply forward of takeoff. However, it’s onerous to give a stable time for when that may occur. The Federal Aviation Administration launched flight restrictions for the airspace round Boca Chica from 9AM to 6PM ET, and there are flight restrictions in place for Wednesday and Thursday of this week, too. “The schedule is dynamic and likely to change, as is the case with all development testing,” SpaceX writes. The firm will present updates via Twitter, so make certain to comply with SpaceX all through the day to catch a glimpse of this rocket’s flight.

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