Private aerospace giant SpaceX has succeeded in completing a second test flight of its Starship prototype in the company’s facilities in Texas.
Officially known as the SN6, it is the predecessor of the SN5 which has seen a successful launch early last month. It has reached more than 150 meters (492 feet) above the ground when it took of the Boca Chica launch site.
It was tagged as a success. The prototype, which is made from a huge silo-like stainless steel material, was able to thrust itself up in the air perpendicularly before landing at a skewed angle on the ground.
Starship SN6 flew asimilar hop to SN5, but it was a much smoother & faster operation— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 3, 2020
According to Fabienne Lang of Interesting Engineering, both test flights of SN5 and SN6, are very important for they were able to also test out key specifications needed for a successful flight. This includes being able to test out the Raptor engine’s thrust vector control system during lift-off. Additionally, the team was able to monitor the conditions of the plumbing systems present in the fuel tanks and rocket engine of the prototype.
Lang also suggests that the test was able to showcase the basic controls of the spacecraft. This latest test flight still lacks the other cosmetic features present in large, full-scale crafts such as a nose cone and wings. We’ll be able to see them on future prototype flights soon as the company gears up its space flight mission capabilities.
What happens after now? According to a report by Richard Lawler on Engadget, Elon Musk plans to do a test flight with a higher altitude in the future. The company also shares that they would be soon capable of multiple launches a day but as Lawler concludes SpaceX is not at that point yet.
On the other hand, the company was able to launch another batch of sixty (60) satellites of its Starlink Internet service. With this, the company has set another record for being able to launch 180 satellites in a span of a month. This is more than any other space company has been to accomplish and has never been done before.