More often, higher, more powerful: SpaceX tells about plans to launch Starship

SpaceX has posted on social media a recording of a recent presentation held by Elon Musk. There he talked about the next Starship flights and plans for the development of the system. 

Burning of the Super Heavy booster, which will be used in the fourth Starship mission. Source: SpaceX

According to the presentation, the fourth Starship flight may take place in about a month, at the beginning of May. Thus, the company intends to reduce the interval between launches. Recently, SpaceX specialists conducted a successful burn of the Super Heavy booster, which will be involved in this mission. 

The main goal of the fourth flight will be the controlled flooding of the Starship. During the previous flight, the spacecraft collapsed during atmospheric entry. Now SpaceX wants to go through this stage. Another goal is to land the Super Heavy booster on a “virtual tower” in the Gulf of Mexico. This will be a dress rehearsal before trying to make a real return. If successful, SpaceX hopes to implement it during the fifth flight of Starship.

Elon Musk, in a traditionally optimistic manner for himself, expressed confidence that by the end of this year SpaceX will be able to solve the problem of returning Super Heavy. For this purpose, the Mechazilla tower, equipped with a pair of giant manipulator arms, will be used. Musk estimated the probability of success at 80% — 90%.

It will take longer to return the Starship. According to Musk, a corresponding attempt will be made only after SpaceX manages to land the spacecraft at least twice and engineers will be sure that its debris will not fall on the United States or Mexico.

SpaceX is also working to accelerate Starship production to provide a higher frequency of flights. The company now has four pairs of Starship and Super Heavy. Six more vehicles will be built by the end of the year. The company is also building a second launch pad in Texas and is preparing to commission a launch complex at Cape Canaveral.

Another area of work is to increase the Starship’s payload capacity. SpaceX intends to achieve this by improving the Raptor engine. The next modification of the spacecraft (Starship 2) will be able to carry over 100 tons of cargo into low-Earth orbit in a fully reusable configuration. The future Starship 3 will be about 25 meters taller than Starship 2 and will be able to carry 200 tons of cargo in reusable mode. It has not yet been announced when exactly these vehicles will make their first flights.

According to

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