SpaceX news: Elon Musk teases first Starship test flights in '2 to 3 months’

SpaceX founder Elon Musk believes both competing Starship prototypes in development could testing “in 2 to three months”. This is an ambitious target considering the planned untethered testing of its Starhopper prototype fell behind schedule this past week. SpaceX is developing dual, partially independent, Starship prototypes in parallel.

What is taking place at both SpaceX bases in Texas and Florida is referred to in the technology industry as a “bake-off”.

Both teams develop their own rockets independently, in an attempt to spur a sense of internal competition.

The resulting progress is considered impossible compared with just a sole team focussed on the task.

Earlier in July, Mr Musk stated the inaugural untethered test of its Starhopper Starship tech demo prototype would happen on Tuesday, July 16.

READ MORE: NASA wants You to submit songs for future Moon missions

This schedule was pushed-back when a preliminary test firing of its engines resulted in a large fireball visible for miles and captured on camera.

Mr Musk admitted later on Twitter this was the result of a “post test fuel leak” but believed the Starhopper prototype avoided any significant damage.

The SpaceX CEO then continued with a new timeline for the untethered test, saying it should happen sometime this coming week instead.

Such tests are a vital stage for the company to take ahead of any test flights of the more complete Starhopper prototypes.

READ MORE: ‘Alien life can exist in 2D universe'

Those initial test will be sub-orbital flights, Musk said on Friday, with orbital tests to follow some “2 to 3 months” after those first test flights 2 to 3 months from today.

This puts the earliest orbital test flights for Starship at just 4 to 6 months from now.

Based on how Elon Musk’s notoriously aggressive timelines square with reality, this could represent an extremely optimistic assessment.

Mr Musk also shared some detail about how Starship will launch.

The SpaceX spacecraft use a launch structure, which is currently under construction at another site, much like Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy employee.

If all goes well, SpaceX’s Starship rocket could ferry astronauts to the Moon and far beyond.

But SpaceX still has plenty of work to do. Starhopper is outfitted with only a single Raptor engine.

A fully operational Starship that could bring up to 100 passengers to the Moon will need to accommodate six Raptor engines.

Let's block ads! (Why?)

Share on google plus
    Google Comments
    Facebook Comments


Post a Comment