The first test flight of the new SpaceX Starship spacecraft is scheduled to take place in December this year. However, before that, the company must conduct several important final tests.
Starship flight in December
Mark Kirasich, assistant deputy administrator of NASA for the development of the Artemis program, said that SpaceX’s Starship spacecraft may soon be launched into space. If all goes well, then its first test flight should take place in December this year.
It should be a very brief mission. The launch will take place from the Boca Chica Cosmodrome in Texas. With the help of the Super Heavy accelerator, the Starship will reach orbit, but immediately return to earth and land near Hawaii. The entire flight will take place in automatic mode.
However, before all this happens, SpaceX has to complete some important final tests. In particular, a simultaneous bench “burning” of all 33 of its accelerators should take place. Test refueling with the inclusion of turbopumps without burning is also critically important. After that, the final launch schedule will finally become clear.
SpaceX is delayed with the launch of its new spacecraft. According to the preliminary plan, it was supposed to take place in the summer of this year. However, representatives of the US Federal Aviation Administration for a long time refused to issue a permit for the use of the Boca Chica cosmodrome. This happened only in July after the company took 75 different measures to ensure environmental safety.
However, almost immediately they had another problem. On July 11, during a bench test, what was called a “high-energy event” occurred. Simply put, a certain amount of fuel leaked out of the rocket and got into the oxygen cloud. There was an explosion.
Specialists extinguished the flame and repaired the rocket. However, the event drew the attention of the NASA Aerospace Safety Advisory Group. They drew attention to the fact that SpaceX too often makes hasty decisions, neglecting plans and safety.
In recent months, SpaceX, with the help of NASA specialists, has been raising its level of system engineering. According to experts, the company still adheres to an aggressive strategy in testing, but already pays much more attention to safety.
Before the spacecraft makes its first test flight, it still needs to get permission for it from the same Federal Aviation Administration. And the flight itself will be only the first step to the goal, which is a human flight to the Moon as part of the Artemis 3 mission.
The next one after the first test should be a flight with fuel transfer testing in space, which is necessary to ensure landing on the Moon and launching from it. Then a longer mission should take place, the details of which are not yet being discussed.
Finally, in 2024, there will be a demonstration unmanned landing on the Moon. And only after that it will become clear when, in fact, we should expect a flight to our natural human moon. So, it is quite possible that all the plans will be adjusted more than once.
According to spacenews.com
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