Capitalism in space: Having completed all preliminary static fire tests, SpaceX has now set November 30th as the target date for 50,000 foot high hop for its eighth Starship prototype.
SpaceX is understood to be conducting a Flight Readiness Review (FRR) for the test flight, with this final Static Fire test providing key data to the final go to proceed towards SN8’s big day.
Elon Musk has already calibrated public expectations on the expected outcome of SN8’s test, noting that “understanding exactly how the body flaps control pitch, yaw & roll during descent, such that the ship is positioned well to relight, flip & land, would be a big win.” As opposed to expecting SN8 to land feet first on the landing pad.
Musk’s point is important. The primary engineering goal for this first hop will be to find out whether they truly understand how to control and fly Starship. Their knowledge in this area is only computer based, and thus is very incomplete, and could very well be wrong, resulting in a failure that prevents a proper clean landing.
Such as failure however would actually be an engineering success, as it would give them the data needed to make later prototypes work. As for landing, they know how to do that already. Once they get the flying right, the landing should follow.
SpaceX has said it will live stream that hop. Should be a thrill to watch.
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