Capitalism in space: The eighth Starship prototype, with landing flaps (looking just like fins) has now been moved to its launchpad in preparation for static fire tests followed by a 50,000 foot or nine mile hop.
According to Elon Musk, SpaceX will static fire SN8 twice before attempting its 15 km (~50,000 ft) launch debut. More likely than not, SpaceX will attempt a triple-engine static fire with the Starship as-is, install SN8’s nosecone and forward flaps, and attempt a second static fire while only drawing propellant from tbe rocket’s smaller header tanks (one of which is located in the tip of its nose).
Previously the hop was supposed to go to 60,000 feet, or 11 miles. It appears they’ve scaled it back slightly.
If all these tests go well, the company’s license for the flight opens as soon as October 11th, though it is likely it will not happen quite that soon. More likely by the end of the month, or early in November. Regardless, the prototype looks quite impressive with its flaps, and in fact is now beginning to resemble a spaceship, not a silo.
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