Finally, SpaceX’s fifth Starship prototype successfully ignited its lone Raptor engine in a test called static fire, paving the way for the first full-scale Starship flight this weekend.
After nearly three weeks of delays and several discontinued tests, SpaceX was able to fix a variety of relatively minor hardware bugs that occurred on July 28th. Described by CEO Elonas Muskas. The first static fire test was originally scheduled for July 10th. And was wound up gradually by scrolling for several days at a time until July 25th. Thus began another series of delays after static fire tests – with each progress – were stopped on the mornings of July 27, 27 (x2) and 30.
Fortunately, though, those abortions and scrubbing and delays are finally over ̵1; at least for now. If things go according to plan over the next few days and teams are able to fix a critical issue identified earlier this week, Starship SN5 could become the first full-scale of its kind to (intentionally) take off in just a few days.
Prior to the successful static fire of the Starship SN5 on July 30, Musk revealed on Twitter that the second rocket test had been stopped on July 27. After Hurricane Hanna damaged a link that is likely related to telemetry and control. SpaceX fixed the problem and was able to stretch its test window for a few hours, allowing a second test later that night.
Unfortunately, the Starship static fire was again primed by what Musk later described as an essential fuel valve that failed to open, as well as “a little weird [behavior]Monitored at the pump associated with the Raptor engine steering equipment. To end the static fire, as SpaceX would later occur two days later, a “screwdriver pump” had to be fully attached, but problems with the Raptor Traction Vector Control (TVC) pump could probably have been delayed.
Given that SpaceX spent approximately 2.5 days inspecting and repairing the Starship after the third static fire was shut down, they probably had time to correct any bugs that damaged the Raptor TVC hydraulic system. Nevertheless, Raptor TVC will have to run smoothly until SpaceX launches its first full-scale Starship flight test. The 150-meter (~ 500-foot) jump will be the first time the Starship prototype will be about the same size and made of the same materials as an orbital-class ship tries to control the flight.
Before construction on July 30. The SpaceX fire had already submitted several temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) used to warn aviators of the holding areas to the FAA so that they could conduct tests during the hops on August 2 and 3. SpaceX will likely take 12 to 24 hours to analyze the data, inspect the Starship, and determine the time for the first rethink, but it’s at least unlikely the company will aim to fly the Starship SN5 as early as this Sunday. Watch as things go and the hop test becomes more specific.
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