SpaceX has successfully connected the prototype of the Starship S25 spacecraft with the Super Heavy B9 booster. Their launch may take place in the coming weeks.
Fully stacked Starship on the launch pad at Starbase pic.twitter.com/cebFZEVrJZ
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 6, 2023
The Starship was assembled at the launch pad of the SpaceX test complex, located near the Texas village of Boca Chica. A new transition compartment was installed on the spacecraft for the first time. It is necessary for the so-called “hot separation of stages“.
At the moment, SpaceX uses the following stage separation system on its rockets. First, the engines of the first stage are switched off, after a few seconds it separates, a few seconds after that the second stage is ignited. Such a scheme is considered the most reliable, because it eliminates the risk of a collision or that the engines of the second stage will damage the first. At the same time, it also has a disadvantage, in the form of loss of thrust, which reduces the carrying capacity of the carrier.
In the case of Starship, Elon Musk decided to abandon this scheme in favor of “hot stage separation”. This means that the engines of the spacecraft will be ignited even before the separation of the Super Heavy at the time of operation of its engines. According to Musk, this will increase the carrying capacity of the Starship by at least 10%.
Thanks to the added transition compartment, the bundle of Starship S25 and Super Heavy B9 became the highest-ever orbital system in history. It broke the record held by the previous Starship, which was launched in April 2023, by several meters. Its height was 120 meters.
As for the launch date of the new Starship, it will depend both on the results of upcoming tests and the speed of issuing a flight permit by the US Federal Aviation Administration. But based on the speed of the test preparation, it can be assumed that SpaceX expects to launch within the next few weeks.
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