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  1. #226
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    A few hours ago SN4 hit a major milestone. After days and nights of testing and adjusting their equipments they did the first static fire of a Raptor engine on a starship prototype. Here a short video with some slo mo sequences.

    It may not look like much to you but there have been camera teams out all night for three nights to catch it. You can hear their excitement in the background.



    This is one engine for a test fire. SN4 has attachment points for 3 engines but it won't get more than one even for the planned short hop. The next build SN5 is nearly finished and will get 3 engines. But it will take a while to get the necessary permits from the FAA. To launch with more propellant they will need the few remaining inhabitants of Boca Chica village moved out.

    The first stage for this rocket will get 31 engines of that type.

    Hopefully the FAA will be a little more supportive now that NASA has contracted Starship for a manned Moon landing mission. At least for the first steps of building that lander. Even then NASA acknowledging that Starship exists and may fly with crew is a huge step. One that nobody expected NASA to take so soon.
    "don't attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by incompetence"

  2. #227
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    Just one photo. While SN4 is still being prepared for a short flight and waiting for FAA approval, the next improved model SN5 is being stacked. In the front 2 nosecones. They are being built at a similar rate as Starship prototypes but have not yet been used. Waiting for a new type of aerosurfaces to be delivered and installed.

    SpaceX - On to Mars-3cpewzj-jpg

    The crane puts the cylinder it holds just on top of the piece waiting at the left, then it gets welded. Single stacks are built by putting rings on top of another than ring welding, now done by welding automats. The big pieces are stacked with a different method. They have a slightlydifferent diameter and one slips over the other, producing a more robust weld, making fitting easier.

  3. #228
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    Just before the successful Dragon launch with crew to the ISS there was a mishap in Boca Chica, Texas.



    On previous occasions Elon Musk clarified that these were not explosions but really only fast deflagrations. This time we had a genuine explosion.

    The good news is that the Starship prototype SN4 did well. They seem to have their welding problems under control now. Elon Musk said it was a quick connect device that connects ground support equipment with Starship that gave way. It was the second time with a ground support problem, the first resulted in a big fire but caused little damage. Time they build a real launch pad for the full Superheavy. Presently they operate with a makeshift support structure.

    SpaceX - On to Mars-remains1-jpg

    There was quite a lot of damage but it could have been much worse. They had planned a short hop with SN4 but that part will now be done with SN5 which is ready. The good news is that the FAA gave the OK for not just one test hop but for test operations in general for 2 years.
    Last edited by Takeovers; 31-05-2020 at 12:08 PM.

  4. #229
    Thailand Expat TheRealKW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Takeovers View Post
    On previous occasions Elon Musk clarified that these were not explosions but really only fast deflagrations. This time we had a genuine explosion.
    No explaining that one away.

  5. #230
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    The NSF forum, nasaspaceflight.com has been producing almost daily update videos of what is going on in Boca Chica. They have now started a series of weekly updates. I will try to post all of these. Daily was too much for this forum, I believe.




    All the video sequences and photos were taken by bocachicagal. She was just one of the residents of Boca Chica village when SpaceX moved in. She got interested in spaceflight only then and started to take photos occasionally. By now she is a professional. Officially accreditet as journalist and provided with professional equipment by NSF. She is out whenever something interesting happens, day or not, or sometimes day and night.

  6. #231
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    We are waiting for Starship SN5 to go through the same qualification as SN4, until it blew up. Hope is it may do a 150m hop with one engine some time next week or the week after.

  7. #232
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    Work is still ongoing to prepare Starship SN5 for tanking, engine test and a short flight. They have become a lot more thorough in preparation of ground equipment and prototype for these tests. Looks almost as if they want to reduce the number of explosions.

    If all goes well with SN5, the next in line, SN6 which is already fully stacked, will probably become just a lawn ornament.

    SN7 was the test tank they intentionally blew up. It was the first build using a new type of stainless steel, expected to improve the weld quality.

    There is another test tank, SN7.1 coming with improved production methods, again to be pressure tested and probably blown up.

    Work on SN8 is advancing rapidly. It is made of the new steel alloy. SN8 is planned to get the aero surfaces that will make it capable of higher and more complex flights.


    The second weekly update video.


  8. #233
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    Reworded from an 8-yr old astronaut: The stuff that actually lifts off may be the best they had during design and construction, though the current rate of knowledge and tech advances is likely to make at least some of the design/materials/parts second best.

    Ok, so they build a newer improved version with the latest and finest, but that would also suffer from the same condition, which means whatever takes off is rarely if ever the best available.

  9. #234
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    Quote Originally Posted by jabir View Post
    Ok, so they build a newer improved version with the latest and finest, but that would also suffer from the same condition, which means whatever takes off is rarely if ever the best available.
    That's true. But they are constantly improving and not finished yet. The new steel will indeed be replaced by another type, custom made for them. There are also plenty of other advances coming in welding methods. SpaceX is constantly iterating and improving. They are not freezing designs. NASA is not used to that method of operating. They will have to get used to it.

    They did freeze the design of F9 to get it manrated from NASA. But they wanted to move away from Falcon and develop Starship anyway.

  10. #235
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    Space X have certainly pushed all manner of inovations which have led to many improvements, technical, man in the street knowledge and procedural, available to the masses to become excited about.

    All good for humankind, the companies, the staff involved etc.

    The team certainly have moved on from the stalled system in previous space exploration attempts.
    A tray full of GOLD is not worth a moment in time.

  11. #236
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    NASA spaceflight forum 3rd weekly update video on Boca Chica.

    The build site and the launch site have weathered Cat 1 Hurricane Hanna and are now preparing for a static fire of the Raptor engine today. If that works out they may do a short flight of 150m as soon as wendnesday.


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    Starship SN5 had a successful static fire today. A photo of the engine firing from a SpaceX drone flying overhead.

    SpaceX - On to Mars-1oilghm-jpg


    https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/...552576/photo/1
    Last edited by Takeovers; 31-07-2020 at 04:37 AM.

  13. #238
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    First flight of Starship, 150m up and a little sideways to the landing pad. In this video you don't get how massive this thing is. The little box on top as a ballast is 22t by itself, 2 massive rolls of steel in a box.

    SpaceX video of the flight. Near the end filmed in the engine bay. You can see the leg deployment. This test vehicle has only one engine but is designed to hold 3 engines. In the air it flies not straight but balances on one engine that is not mounted in the center. So it can not fly straight. The full version will have 6 engines, 3 sea level engines and 3 vacuum engines.



    The legs are quite stubby. The next version will be longer and version 2 will be self leveling for uneven ground like on the Moon and on Mars.

    According to Elon Musk there will be more hops to smooth out the launch process. They plan even to fly and then shortly lift off and land again.

    When these launches are done, Starship SN8 should be ready, complete with nose cone and aero surfaces. SN8 will do a 20km hop, switch off the engines, fall down steered by the aerosurfaces and then land. This will be tricky, something like this has never been done. Expect some failures again.

    Picture that shows how much Starship is angled in some phase of the flight.

    SpaceX - On to Mars-starship-flight-jpg
    Last edited by Takeovers; 05-08-2020 at 12:33 PM.

  14. #239
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    Excellent, a very public statement again of SpaceX's achievements.

    Thanks for the engine info as well. The single engine did look a little lonely.

    Quote Originally Posted by Takeovers View Post
    The next version will be longer
    For more fuel or additional payload? Does the rocket have different mixes of fuel for use depending on, earth launch, space vacuum use or moon launch?

    Quote Originally Posted by Takeovers View Post
    complete with nose cone
    You've probably answered this before but.

    Is it intended to return to earth and land complete?

  15. #240
    Thailand Expat TheRealKW's Avatar
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    Brilliant!

  16. #241
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    Quote Originally Posted by Takeovers View Post
    The full version will have 6 engines, 3 sea level engines and 3 vacuum engines.
    Quote Originally Posted by OhOh View Post
    For more fuel or additional payload? Does the rocket have different mixes of fuel for use depending on, earth launch, space vacuum use or moon launch?
    You can get some answers by reading and not just looking at pictures oh oh. Also if you engage your brain it helps..

  17. #242
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    The previous generation got the moon landings. We'll get the Mars landings. Perhaps even Mars colonies.

    Cheers Elon.


    The next generation might get to see life on Europa and Enceladus, viable space tourism, and the telltale signs of life on exoplanets. Especially if they get to live to 150 years old as predicted.

  18. #243
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    They use only oxygen and methane as fuel, nothing else. Maybe nitrogen or argon to spin up the engines. Important consideration is that they don't use anything they can not source on Mars. Nitrogen and argon are both easily available on Mars from the atmosphere.

    Goal is that they only need to refuel and refly, nothing at all will be replaced for reflight. With 3 flights a day for a tanker and more than that for the first stage, Superheavy, there is no time to replace anything. Of course that's a goal. They will need some time to reach that launch rate.

    The mix of sealevel and vacuum engines is unique. No other upper stage has it. They need the sealevel engines for landing and for additional thrust on launch. That second stage has a weight of ~1300-1400t on launch. So the SL engines need to help. In space most of the thrust comes from the more efficient vacuum engines but they need to run the sealevel engines as well, at low thrust. That's because the steering is done by sealevel engines and balance out thrust when a vac engine fails. The vacuum engines are fixed.

    The high number of engines is also needed for engine out capability. Starship is required to be able to complete its mission with one sealevel and one vacuum engine failing at any time during flight. That's necessary for the required safety. NASA requirement for crew is one loss of crew in 270 flights. Starship needs to be much more reliable. A craft that is expected to do thousands of flights better not fail once in 270 flights. So NASA requirements for crew are not sufficient for Starship operations. Though it will be a hard sell to convince NASA, that Starship will really be that reliable. Of course it will take time to reach that level. Initially failures will happen.

    SpaceX has the Dear Moon mission contracted that is supposed to happen in 2023. Send 10 artists of all kinds around the moon. To do that SpaceX will need to be supremely confident in Starship, they just can't afford to have those people die. Though the risk can never be ZERO.

  19. #244
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    A nice size comparison.

    SpaceShuttle on the left. Starship SN5 as flown today. The full Starship on the right. The upcoming SN8 test vehicle will be that size, maybe a month from now.

    SpaceX - On to Mars-size-comparison-jpg


    Remember, Starship is the upper stage only. The first stage is taller than that.

  20. #245
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    Did you ever make it to a launch, TO?

  21. #246
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edmond View Post
    Did you ever make it to a launch, TO?

    No I had only a short trip to New York and Washington DC. Visited the Smithsonian, very impressive but a long time ago.

    I had booked a flight to Brownsville to see that mad construction and launch site Boca Chica. But had to cancel due to Covid 19. This was supposed to be the trip of my life and I hope I will still get to do it.

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    I used this photo with the sea in the background to determine the angle of SN5 after landing. It is 2.7

    SpaceX - On to Mars-landed-angle-jpg

  23. #248
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    Quote Originally Posted by aging one View Post
    Also if you engage your brain it helps
    Thank you for your reply, I'll await our expert thanks.

  24. #249
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    Quote Originally Posted by Takeovers View Post
    the angle of SN5 after landing. It is 2.7
    Thanks for the engine/fuel mix usage information and the post land photo. Presumably the proper legs will deal with that issue, if it is one.

  25. #250
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    Quote Originally Posted by Takeovers View Post
    I used this photo with the sea in the background to determine the angle of SN5 after landing. It is 2.7

    SpaceX - On to Mars-landed-angle-jpg
    is that all?

    it looks double that or more.

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