Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Starship Another Step Closer to The Hop

I've been keeping track of the life of Starship prototype number 8, and the last couple of nights have clicked off major milestones.  Two nights ago, they did a successful pre-burner ignition, and last night they did another pre-burner test, followed by a static firing of all three raptor engines. 

The video appears to be an edit of the two event videos into one.  There's a firing of something at about the 20 second mark.  After that finishes, at about 42 seconds, the recording changes to a slightly smaller view (slightly shorter lens on the video camera) and a clock appears at lower right.  At 1:20, the main static firing appears to happen, which is significantly brighter and bigger than the one at 20 seconds. 

The nose cone that will go on this set of tanks has been built and the reporting says the addition will be done there on the test pad. The nose cone has had its aerodynamic surfaces added.

I'm not sure if there will be another engine firing test once the nose cone is installed, but they are awaiting FAA approval to hop to approximately 50,000 feet.  That event will be like nothing we've seen before. 

SpaceX has developed a way for Starship to land that's mostly not like their Falcon 9 landings, and not like a Space Shuttle landing, which was a dead stick; that is, no thrust, no propulsion, but a slightly aerodynamic "lifting body."  Starship comes in to the atmosphere belly first as a way to dissipate speed by lots of friction over lots of area.  In the last several Starship lengths above ground, it suddenly fires engines and thrusters, goes through vertical, then lands on legs standing upright like the Falcon 9.  This simulation video was up on YouTube by a group called C-bass Productions.   I recall seeing a Twitter exchange while looking up something Elon had said.  This video was there and he gave them a big thumb's up, then mentioned some detail that wasn't right.  They fixed that detail and this is the improved version.

SpaceX lost a lot of Falcon 9 boosters before they finally refined things well enough to start landing them regularly.  I'll probably faint if they nail the first landing instead of crashing the first try. Now it's easier to understand why they're currently building serial numbers 8 through 14. Along with Super Heavy booster SN1.


  1. Okay, that would be a complete vomit comet. Can't see that paying customers on a trip to Disney would buy that. Me? I'd sell my right eye to ride that beast.

    Best timeline.

  2. Comes back and lands on it's tail, just like God and Buck Rogers intended!

  3. It's gonna be exciting the first time one of those pancakes into the ground. I'd be kind of disinclined to be within 8 or so miles until they get it really right.

    Dang. Times are getting so exciting!!!

  4. Off topic, but it would be great if you could come shooting:


  5. Could use Slim Pickens mock-up for the ride down. Just say'in...