SpaceX aims for an orbital flight for July

On May 5, a prototype SN15 (Serial Number 15) of SpaceX’s Starship rocket equipped with three Raptor engines flew at high altitude and reached approximately 10 km. This test flight was marked by the success of a first soft landing.

With an SN16 prototype, Elon Musk – the founder and boss of SpaceX – discussed in mid-June the possibility of using it for an upcoming hypersonic test flight. Nevertheless, it is a first orbital test flight that already seems to be on the horizon.

SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said (CNBC) that the orbital flight is expected for next July. ” Hope we get there, but we all know it’s tough. […] We are really on the verge of flying this system or at least attempting the first orbital flight of this system in the very short term.

According to the established plan

A priori, it is with a Starship SN20 prototype but also a Super Heavy BN4 (Booster Number 4) prototype that the orbital flight attempt should take place. The Starship launcher and spaceship is the upper stage of the future space transportation system. It is supported by a first stage or Super Heavy booster with some 28 Raptor engines.

Super Heavy BN1 prototype; credits: Elon Musk

The set consisting of Starship and Super Heavy is close to a height of more than 120 meters. According to a document that had been filed with the Federal Communications Commission in the United States, the orbital flight will be from SpaceX’s facilities and base in Boca Chica, Texas.


After 170 seconds of flight, the separation will take place with the booster, which will return to land in the Gulf of Mexico 30 km from the coast, a little more than 8 minutes after takeoff. Landing will be on an automated barge at sea.

With a total flight time of over 90 minutes, the Starship upper stage will be placed in orbit before a landing 100 km off the northwest coast of Kauai, one of the main islands of the Hawaiian archipelago in the Pacific Ocean.

Source: GNT – actualités by

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