SpaceX Starship. Prototype Flew 10KM & Successful Landed


SpaceX Starship
Image Credit: SpaceX

The heavy-lift reusable spacecraft prototype – SpaceX Starship made its third flight from Boca Chica, Texas, where the company is developing the vehicle. In the prototype’s latest flight, which flew to a height of roughly 32,000 feet before it successfully performed a maneuver to re-orient itself for a friction-assisted descent.

Previously, the subject spacecraft in its test flights faced setbacks, resulting in an explosion after take-off. However, the latest went the opposite unlike the last two, flying high for roughly six-minutes without a dramatic fireball experience. Though, the rocket did blow up while stationary on the landing pad a few minutes after landing, potentially due to a leak. But this time, it completed the intended landing flip maneuver and slowed itself for a soft touchdown, while remaining vertical and intact afterward.

We should know that all rocket development includes unexpected events and suboptimal outcome, but with SpaceX approach, its evident couple of works are still ongoing that are subject to unusual scrutiny. Responding to the latest development, SpaceX via Livestream made it clear that this was a fantastic outcome, and a nominal one in all regards.

There are a couple of things to note about the SpaceX Starship, looking at the Boca Chica facility, a small building that consists of small concrete pads, storage tanks, and scaffolding, equally very close to the public roadway. Of which, to figure out testing activities, people just drive up and set up cameras in order to film what’s going on. Pretty opposite to how legacy rocket makers have typically gone about it.

In another dimension, SpaceX founder and CEO ‘Elon Musk’ appears to be adamant in its effort to deliver the Starship based on rapid development strategy and iteration prototyping with Starship development. Based on this, the manufacturing and assembling of Starship prototypes have been simultaneous while effecting small changes as it goes, rather than stepping back after each test that could lead to a prolonged period of analysis before proceeding with building and flying its next version.

Meanwhile, despite the successful test that matters most for SpaceX at this stage of development, which ended up with a fireball experience. One is convinced the company will certainly do an investigation into the root cause of the explosion that followed the successful flight and landing maneuver. But, since SpaceX’s goal is to reach orbit, the next test flight would mean increasing the height.

While the brief engine fire that ended the day launch attempt occurred, when instrument readings from the rocket showed a slightly high thrust value, and as such, altered what ‘Elon Musk’ termed “conservative”.

Tell us, what more do we know about SpaceX Starship?