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SpaceX flight testing in South Texas

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SpaceX flight testing in South Texas

Old 5th Mar 2021, 14:08
  #101 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Deltasierra010 View Post
the rocket nozzles are cooled with liquid hydrogen the stresses must be colossal,
They are using liquid hydrogen now? What happened to the methane?
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Old 12th Mar 2021, 00:00
  #102 (permalink)  
 
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SN11 now on the launch pad. Cryo proof testing underway. Three Raptor engines already installed. They don;t mess about do they?
April 1st for next launch attempt?
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Old 21st Mar 2021, 01:18
  #103 (permalink)  
 
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Fire at the construction site. No idea of any details yet.
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Old 22nd Mar 2021, 07:53
  #104 (permalink)  
 
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Static fire Monday and flight test Wednesday or Thursday, lets hope for the best!
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Old 23rd Mar 2021, 11:22
  #105 (permalink)  
 
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Successful static fire yesterday. About 6 mins into this vid.

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Old 24th Mar 2021, 22:46
  #106 (permalink)  
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SpaceX has cancelled two potential launch dates for its Starship SN11 spacecraft.

The next prototype of its Mars-bound craft is already on the launchpad at SpaceX’s Boca Chica facility in Texas, with road closures in the surrounding area originally scheduled for every day this week.

Cameron County updated its public notice listings of temporary closures relating to SpaceX on Wednesday, cancelling closures for both Wednesday 24 March and Thursday 25 March, and removing the closure listed for Friday.

Starship testing does not take place on weekends, meaning if Friday’s closure is also cancelled then the earliest launch will be Monday 29 March.

SpaceX is yet to give a reason for the cancellations and typically does not announce Starship tests until less than an hour before they take place, when they post a live stream of the launchpad to Twitter and YouTube.

A static fire test was completed on Monday, however there are a variety of factors that need to line up before a launch can take place. This includes regulatory approval from the FAA, favourable weather conditions, hardware preparations, as well as the local road closures.

Depending on the success of the SN11 test, SpaceX is aiming to conduct the first ever orbital flight of the rocket before 1 July....
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Old 26th Mar 2021, 13:31
  #107 (permalink)  
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Possible launch today, Static Fire first.

NSF has just gone live on YouTube
https://youtu.be/JJXEq9IX1To
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Old 26th Mar 2021, 18:38
  #108 (permalink)  
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SpaceX confirmation. https://www.spacex.com/vehicles/starship/index.html

Static Fire was completed successfully 8:09 CDT 13:09 UTC today.

Village residents evacuated by 12:00 CDT for a possible launch.
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Old 26th Mar 2021, 21:17
  #109 (permalink)  
 
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Today's launch scrubbed due to Wx: fog and visibility.

- Ed
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Old 27th Mar 2021, 13:46
  #110 (permalink)  
 
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Elon tweeted

Standing down SN11 until probably Monday. Additional checkouts are needed. Doing our best to land & fully recover.
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Old 28th Mar 2021, 01:29
  #111 (permalink)  
 
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Is this just weather related or did something go wrong at the static fire?
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Old 29th Mar 2021, 10:44
  #112 (permalink)  
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Just weather, next attempt today - weather permitting.

SpaceX could be set to launch its next Starship prototype model SN11 on Monday afternoon, Elon Musk has said.

Musk wrote on Twitter, Sunday: "Possible Starship flight tomorrow afternoon."
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Old 29th Mar 2021, 17:30
  #113 (permalink)  
 
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Its been scrubbed for today as the relevant FAA official who was supposed to be on site couldn't get their in time. I would imagine that Musk is pretty angry about that.
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Old 30th Mar 2021, 15:35
  #114 (permalink)  
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Launch was a success but SN11 either exploded, or was destroyed using the destruct mechanism, during engine restart at the end of the belly flop manoeuvre.

Everyday Astronaut seem to have lost most of their camera equipment as large chunks fell on and around them...

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Old 30th Mar 2021, 21:42
  #115 (permalink)  
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https://www.independent.co.uk/life-s...-b1823788.html
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Old 30th Mar 2021, 23:01
  #116 (permalink)  
 
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Some better views here. Debris field is quite widespread, must have been pretty high when it blew.

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Old 31st Mar 2021, 12:07
  #117 (permalink)  
 
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Very interesting.

Maybe a need for a redesign ?
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Old 5th Apr 2021, 17:12
  #118 (permalink)  
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https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2021...aptor-testing/

Starship SN15 prepares to rollout as Raptor testing ups a gear

Just days after Starship SN11 conducted a fog-cloaked test flight that ended in an explosive finale, SN15 is already in final preparations for a rollout down Highway 4 at SpaceX Starbase (Boca Chica). SN15 will sport numerous modifications that SpaceX hopes will result in improved performance ahead of shooting for orbit along with smoother touchdowns for its prototype rocket.

One of the mostly unspecified modifications involves the engines, which are being aided by an increased test cadence at SpaceX’s McGregor test site. The center is currently constructing two additional vertical Raptor test stands to increase throughput.

SN11 was the most dramatic ending to a Starship prototype flight to date, albeit without any cameras catching the explosion due to thick fog in the region.

When SpaceX’s onboard feed froze, SN11 was moving toward the flip and landing burn of its three Raptors. NASASpaceflight.com’s Livestream audio caught the sound engine relight, quickly followed by the explosive boom and pieces of SN11 raining down on the launch site.

Every other stage of flight, including the ascent and the bellyflop return, matched the successes of SN8 through SN10. While it was later noted that one engine struggled during the ascent, the vehicle achieved its test objectives heading toward the landing burn.

While online rumors have ranged from issues relating to the Flight Termination System’s triggering (FTS) through to the CH4 (Liquid Methane) Header Tank exploding, it was understood the likely cause was an explosive engine failure during the re-light process that destroyed the vehicle.

Nothing could be confirmed until Elon Musk or SpaceX release the official cause of the vehicle returning to the launch site in pieces, conclusions that were expected per Elon’s surprising and refreshing transparency with the test program.

That came on Monday when Elon tweeted: “Ascent phase, transition to horizontal & control during free fall were good. A (relatively) small CH4 leak led to fire on engine 2 & fried part of avionics, causing hard start attempting landing burn in CH4 turbopump. This is getting fixed 6 ways to Sunday.”......

SN15

SN15 rolled from the Mid Bay to the High Bay during the week, ahead of receiving its Nosecone, which has since been mated to the stack. It will make the trip down Highway 4 as early as Monday, once the impressive Liebherr LR1600/2 Crawler Crane (dubbed “Tankzilla”) has made the trip for the task of raising SN15 on the launch mount.


This vehicle marks the second phase of testing for the full-stack Starship prototypes ahead of pushing on to the orbital vehicles, which is expected to open with the SN20 vehicle – as previously reported by NASASpaceFlight.com.

“Next major technology rev is at SN20. Those ships will be orbit-capable with heat shield & stage separation system. Ascent success probability is high. However, SN20+ vehicles will probably need many flight attempts to survive Mach 25 entry heating & land intact.”......

BN1-3

Although Elon confirmed the orbital attempt would be as reported, with SN20 and Super Heavy BN3, the claimed target date of “by July” was always highly ambitious. The likelihood BN3 will be the Super Heavy to conduct the flight is also subject to change.

This ever-evolving plan was confirmed when Elon noted BN1 won’t even undergo testing at the suborbital site and will be scrapped.

Currently stacked in the High Bay, BN1 was never going to hop. However, it was expected to be proof tested – and at one point was potentially Static Fired with a couple of Raptors. While SpaceX may take the opportunity to test how to roll such a tall booster down Highway 4, it appears likely the pathfinder will likely be scrapped at the Production Site.

“BN1 is a manufacturing pathfinder, so will be scrapped. We learned a lot, but have already changed design to BN2,” Elon noted, with the design change likely to be related to the position of the LOX and CH4 tanks in the stack.

Amazingly, Elon added that SpaceX aims to complete the stacking of the BN2 Super Heavy booster – which is currently in sections outside the High Bay, in time to rollout and lifted on to the yet-to-be-completed Orbital Launch Site mount in a matter of weeks.

“Goal is to get BN2 with engines on orbital pad before end of April. It might even be orbit-capable if we are lucky,” Elon added, with “orbit-capable” a highly surprising statement given his initial note about the first test of a Super Heavy originally being a 150-meter hop.

However, whenever there is doubt in ambitious Starship schedule goals, the Production Site is on hand to add some realism via its incredible cadence. Even BN3 sections have already been spotted by Mary (@bocachicagal).....
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Old 6th Apr 2021, 13:38
  #119 (permalink)  
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https://www.teslarati.com/spacex-sta...storage-tanks/

SpaceX is building launch pad tanks out of Starship parts and that’s a big deal

SpaceX has begun installing the first of numerous propellant storage tanks at its first orbital South Texas launch facilities – a mostly ordinary and expected step made extraordinary by the fact that those tanks will be built out of Starship parts.

Labeled “GSE” for Ground Support Equipment, the first signs of those self-built storage tanks began appearing at SpaceX’s Boca Chica Starship factory less than two months ago in mid-February. A matter of weeks later, the first of those SpaceX-brand cryogenic storage tanks is off to the launch site for installation (and insulation) while at least two more tanks are well on their way to completion.

While a few ground starge tanks may look like a distraction in the scope of a program tasked with building the world’s largest (and fully reusable) rocket, the existence of those tanks is far more significant than it might initially appear.

Simply put, rocket propellant storage – even for extremely cold cryogenic liquids like those that SpaceX uses – is a thoroughly solved problem. Numerous commercial vendors exist and industrial demand for practically identical tanks is far higher, further lowering commercial tank costs even for those with niche use-cases thanks to economies of scale. For SpaceX’s purposes, major discounts could like be secured given that the company would need to purchase around three to four-dozen commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) 100,000 gallon tanks to supply a launch pad with enough commodities for two back-to-back launches of Starship and Super Heavy.

That initial launch capability – which SpaceX appears to be working towards – would likely allow the company to start orbital refueling test flights (and Starlink launches, perhaps) immediately after completion. However, that initial capability wouldn’t suffice for ambitious missions to Mars, the Moon, or higher Earth orbits; where one Starship would need to be rapidly refueled with 3-10+ tanker launches. A launch facility capable of supporting 5-10 back-to-back launches (optimally just a few hours apart) would require many times more propellant storage.

The point is that for the initial target of two (or so) launches between commodity resupply, SpaceX could likely acquire the few dozen new storage tanks it would need for a few million dollars apiece for a total cost likely between $50M and $100M. Instead, SpaceX has decided to design and build its own propellant storage tanks. Even more significantly, the GSE tanks SpaceX has already begun building appear to be virtually identical to Starships.

In other words, SpaceX is effectively taking identical rocket parts, slightly tweaking a handful of those parts, and turning what could have been a rocket into a propellant storage tank. This is significant because relative to all other rockets in history, even including SpaceX’s own Falcon 9 and Heavy, building storage tanks with unchanged rocket parts on a rocket assembly line would be roughly akin to hiring Vincent van Gogh to paint lane lines.

Ever since Elon Musk made the radical decision to switch from composite structures to stainless steel, Starship has always aimed to be radicallydifferent than any large rocket before it. Crucially, by using commodity steel, the CEO imagined SpaceX would be able to build Starships fairly easily and for pennies on the dollar next to even SpaceX’s exceptionally affordable Falcon 9. In the last 18 months, it’s become apparent that SpaceX has built a factory capable of churning out one or two massive steel rockets per month and is willing to consign at least four or five of those Starship prototypes to all-but-guaranteed failures for the sake of data-gathering and iterative improvement.

Technically, the most logical conclusion would be that Musk was right and that SpaceX has quickly developed the ability to build steel rockets larger than any other launch vehicle on Earth for perhaps just $5M or less apiece. However, SpaceX is also raising on the order of $1-2B in venture capital annually, so they could technically afford to shoulder the cost of extremely expensive Starship prototypes if the company was confident that there was a path to cut those costs and reach the targets needed for the rocket to make economical sense.

Now, the existence of self-built propellant storage tanks virtually identical to flightworthy Starship airframes all but guarantees that SpaceX is already building Starships for a few million dollars each – and possibly much less.

More than a year ago, Musk said that SpaceX was already building the Raptor engines that will power Starship and Super Heavy for less than $1M apiece and was working to mass-produce a simpler variant for less than $250,000. Beyond engines and primary structures, Starship hardware is fairly simple and ranges from Tesla-derived motors, basic flaps, and landing legs to off-the-shelf pressure vessels (COPVs) and wiring. SpaceX has managed that extraordinary cost-efficiency despite the fact that Boca Chica is still nowhere close to the level of volume production Musk is aiming for, meaning that there are still far more efficiencies waiting to be realized......
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Old 7th Apr 2021, 22:53
  #120 (permalink)  
 
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Thanks for the update Orac. I watched that tank being stacked and secured on site. I did wonder why they were building their own.
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