Nov 12, 2020

SpaceX’s Starship SN8 roars to life ahead of debut launch

Posted by in category: space travel

Featured Image Source: @austinbarnard45 via Twitter SpaceX’s Starship SN8 (Serial Number 8) prototype roared to life last night during a Raptor engine static-fire test. This test is a routine pre-flight preparation meant to assess the three Raptor engines and all systems related to the propulsion system before a launch vehicle takes flight. SN8 is expected to become the first fully-assembled Starship prototype to perform a test flight. Engineers plan to launch Starship SN8 50,000 feet (15-kilometers) into Boca Chica Beach, Texas, sunny sky. Tuesday’s static-fire test was the second one performed. Raptor engines are fueled by a combination of cryogenic methane and liquid oxygen. During the test, engineers fuel the vehicke to briefly ignite the Raptors as the stainless-steel Starship SN8 vehicle remained grounded to a test stand at the South Texas Launch Facility. Last night’s engine ignition was different than the previous one; This time, SN8 featured a top nose cone section with an oxygen header tank. The vehicle’s first static-firing only featured the bottom base and excluded a test of the header propellant tanks. On October 20, teams performed the first static-firing in which the Starship SN8’s three Raptor engines where briefly ignited for the first time, utilizing fuel from the main propellant tank. Starship features two propellant tanks — a main one that holds most of the propellant and a ‘header tank’ that is a smaller tank that holds fuel reserves that can fuel the vehicle upon landing. A header tank for liquid oxygen is also located inside the vehicle’s top nose cone section.

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