SpaceX ran the high-altitude test of its latest prototype Starship, SN15, which was scheduled for Friday afternoon, April 30th. No reason was given for the cancellation and it probably means that the test will be returned next week.
The high altitude test is one of the biggest challenges for a prototype. In it, the prototype is loaded and launched and climbs to high altitudes. The prototype then performs its “abdominal failure” maneuver to turn around and try to return to Earth for a controlled vertical landing. However, this was not easy, as four previous attempts to obtain a prototype for a landing maneuver ended with the blasting of the prototypes.
In preparation for this latest test, SpaceX is conducting tests such as a static fire test conducted on Monday, April 26th. In this test, the prototype is prepared for launch and remains attached to the ground while launching its engines. This allows engineers to check that everything is going according to plan. Everything looked good and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the prototype was ready for its high-altitude test later this week.
Starship SN15’s static fire ended in preparation for flight later this week
– Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 27, 2021
According to NASASpaceFlight, given the closure of roads in the area around the Boca Chica launch site, the test will most likely be rescheduled for Monday, April 3. There are few windows for testing over the weekend, so next week is the most likely time for the test to continue.
SpaceX said it plans to send Starship on its first orbital flight this summer, but will first need to test for high altitude, including the complex vertical landing maneuver.
A possible plan is for Starship to become a heavy launch vehicle for sending larger payloads on longer journeys, such as to the moon and Mars. This would complement the company’s Falcon 9 rocket, which is used to launch satellites, crew capsules and more and has a first stage for multiple use. Although reusable rockets are significantly more difficult to design and operate than single-use rockets, they have the potential to make spacefalls cheaper and more affordable, as costs are lower when parts can be used. again.