Starship – Second Integrated Flight Test

in STEMGeeks11 days ago (edited)

It has been seven months since the first launch attempt. SpaceX was ready on a technical basis since early September. The delay since September is due to reviews by regulatory agencies (Federal Aviation Administration and United States Fish and Wildlife Service) with regards to failure analysis and mitigation of the last flight and upgrades for the next attempt.

230415_starship_flight events.png
Source: SpaceX

Major Changes for the Second Integrated Test Flight:

Hot Staging

For stage separation on the first attempt, SpaceX wanted to perform an elaborate flip maneuver to flip the upper stage off the booster stage. The major change is the addition of a vented hot staging section which allows the upper stage to light engines while still attached to the booster. That way it will be assured that the upper stage has enough thrust before separation.

Hot-staging animation by RyanHansenSpace

NASASpaceflight with a detailed look at hot-staging: Starship's Hottest Upgrade: Hot Staging!

Positive impact: no complicated flip maneuver and assured separation.
Negative impact: exhaust gases impinging on the booster stage, which may hamper reuse.

Pad Upgrades

The pad foundations were dug up by the pressure and heat of the exhaust gases, which resulted in a storm of large chunks of concrete flying everywhere and causing damage.
The foundation is now protected by a water-cooled steel plate that will push water up against the exhaust gases to keep heat away from the foundation.

Electronic Thrust Vector Control

Thrust vectoring was controlled by a hydraulic system which increasingly failed during launch. This time it will be facilitated by electric actuators. The hydraulic system was already a legacy version at the first launch. It was already implemented in the next booster version.

Flight Termination System

The rocket lost steering and thrust during the first launch and needed to be remotely destroyed. Turns out the explosive charges were not powerful enough to end the mission. The rocket kept flying for 40 seconds after charges were triggered.

Starship data :

Full Stack
Payload capacity (fully reusable):100 – 150t
Starship Spacecraft
Super Heavy Booster Rocket

What is a Successful Test?

Many close observers would consider it a significant step up if the pad holds up and the stages separate cleanly.

Live Streams

More Information

Marcus House: SpaceX Starbase and Stage Zero! How close are we to Starship Orbital Flight Test? – 23.11.2021

SpaceX Starship | O.F.T (Orbital Flight Test) Animation

CSI Starbase: Why SpaceX Could Be Forced To Abandon Starship Payloads Until 2024!

Starship's First Flight Trajectory Revealed! Where Will it Land? | SpaceX Boca Chica

Marcus House looks into what can happen when the stack explodes during launch:
SpaceX Starship Explosive Potential, and Big Bang Theory

Tim Dodd was lucky enough to get two guided tours around Starbase by Elon Musk:
Tour 2022:

Tour 2021:

Prototype Tests

SpaceX: Starship | SN10 | High-Altitude Flight Test – 04.03.21
SpaceX: Starship | SN10 | High-Altitude Flight Recap
Tim Dodd: Starship SN10 [4k, Clean Audio & Slow Mo Supercut]

Scott Manley recapping what changes happened in previous iterations until the successful SN-15 launch: SpaceX's Starship Prototype Takes To The Skies And Returns Safely
SpaceX: Starship | SN15 | High-Altitude Flight Test – 06.05.22
SpaceX: Starship | SN15 | Flight Test Recap

Cosmic Perspective: Valhalla: Starship Explosion Footage SN8-SN11 - 4K

Tim Dodd: How To Visit STARBASE // A Complete Guide To Seeing Starship!.
NASASpaceflight: A Practical Guide To Starbase | Things You Need To Know To See Starship Launch

Lex Fridman: Starship: The most powerful rocket ever made | Tim Dodd and Lex Fridman

Further information Useful Starship links
Background information about previous SpaceX launches: Wikipedia
FAA: SpaceX Starship Super Heavy Project at the Boca Chica Launch Site
FAA: Licensed Launches

Starship OFT flight plan

The Launch Pad Network:

Vote for my witness: @blue-witness

Hopefully we will see a huge success today! Of course the first launch was a success for all the SpaceX team too, but they learned a lot during the last flight and everything will be better now!

I was worried that if they couldn't get it off the launchpad today, it would be stopped by an impending government shutdown. That would have probably limited the FAA and other agencies in being able to support this project. They pushed that debate to January.

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