Finally, SpaceX’s fifth Starship prototype successfully turned the Raptor engine on its own into a test known as a static fire, paving the way for Starship’s first full-scale flight earlier this year. -weekend.
After nearly three weeks of delays and several aborted attempts, SpaceX managed to fix a variety of relatively minor hardware bugs described by CEO Elon Musk on July 28th. The first static fire attempt was originally scheduled for July 10 and gradually stopped slipping a few days at a time until July 25. Thus began another series of delays after static fire attempts – with a different advance from each – were aborted on 25, 27 July (x2) and 30 in the morning.
Thankfully, though, those abortions and the scourges and delays have finally come to an end ̵1; at least for now. If things go according to plan over the next few days and teams are able to fix a critical issue discovered earlier this week, Starship SN5 could become the first full-scale of its kind to be removed (intentionally ) a few days from now.
Ahead of the successful static fire of Starship SN5 on July 30, Musk revealed in a tweet that the rocket’s second attempt was an abortion on July 27 after Hurricane Hanna damaged a connector, presumably related to telemetry and control. SpaceX fixed the issue and managed to lengthen its test window by a few hours, leaving a second attempt later that night.
Unfortunately, Starship’s static fire was again damaged by what Musk later described as a crucial fuel valve that failed to open, as well as by “some odd [behavior]”Observed in a pump related to the steering hardware of the Raptor engine. To complete the static fire as SpaceX was later two days later, the finicky” pump spin pump “would have been completely fixed, but the issues of Raptor traction control pump (TVC) could have been stopped.
Because SpaceX spent about 2.5 days inspecting and repairing Starship after the third static fire was stopped, it’s likely they had time to fix any bugs that were plaguing Raptor’s TVC hydraulic system. Regardless, Raptor’s TVC will have to function perfectly before SpaceX continues its first full-scale Starship flight test. The 150m (~ 500 ft) hop will be the first time a prototype Starship of roughly the same size – and built with the same materials – as an orbital-class ship will attempt to fly controlled .
Prior to the July 30 static fire, SpaceX had already filed a number of temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) – used to warn detention area aviators – with the FAA for hop test attempts. on 2 and 3 August. SpaceX will likely need 12-24 hours to analyze the data, inspect Starship and determine the timeline for the first attempt at the chops, but there’s at least a small chance the company will push for Starship SN5 to fly as early as Sunday. Keep an eye out as things move forward and the hop test comes to a more concrete date.
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