This is a great week for SpaceX, which has an important launch of Falcon 9 for NASA, which is held in Florida and probably a key test flight to Texas.
On Wednesday, SpaceX is scheduled to experience its ninth launch in 2019: a mission to deliver cargo to the International Space Station. The Dragon Spacecraft will ship about 2.5 metric tons of supplies, scientific experiments, and equipment to the orbital lab. This will be the 18th procurement mission that SpaceX has committed to NASA.
With already completed static fire on the Falcon 9 rocket, departure is scheduled for 6:24 pm ET (22:24 UTC) on Wednesday by the Space Launch Complex 40 Air Force Station on Cape Canaveral in Florida. However, the weather forecast is not great, as the chance of 70% of "inaction" is impossible. This first phase of Falcon 9 has flown once, with May's last SpaceX mission station at the station. NASA can fly for the third time later this year.
The dragon capsule at the top of the rocket was also in space before. SpaceX announced that this car was flying from the space station in April 2015 and December 2017, meaning that the dragon would fly for the first time three times. With reuse of Dragon vehicles – after a major reconstruction – SpaceX has managed to turn its dragon cradle into California to produce a crew dragon to transport astronauts and not a load to the station.
Meanwhile SpaceX employees have worked hard in southern Texas and are working on the prototype "Starship". The company wants to test the ability of the vehicle (called Starhopper) to rise vertically and land. The next big event is a skip test that will show that the unarmed version of the vehicle rises to about 20 meters, horizontally moves toward the surface, and then lands. StarCopper has not been released before, so we can probably expect some kind of drama on this test flight. and Mars. It will serve as an "upper phase" for a big booster SpaceX also develops, called Super Heavy. Recently, Musk confirmed that the current Super Heavy design has 35 Raptor engines. In preparation, at 22:25 local time in Texas on July 16 (03:25 UTC on July 17), engineers tested Raptor's engine, attached to the Starhopper for five seconds, producing smoke and fire as expected. About four minutes later, however, a secondary fireball swallowed the engine and the vehicle briefly. Accordingly, SpaceX is now working to make this long-awaited hops test somewhere this week. If this test is successful, SpaceX can perform higher flights, up to 20km this fall, said founder Elon Musk . Ars will be in Boca Chica this week to provide a full report.
List of Trevor Mahlmann's photos of Ars