Home / Technology / Elon Musk Says Spaceship SN8 Prototype Will Have Nosepiece And Will Attempt 60,000 Foot Return Flight – TechCrunch

Elon Musk Says Spaceship SN8 Prototype Will Have Nosepiece And Will Attempt 60,000 Foot Return Flight – TechCrunch



Elon Musk shared some details on the future tests of Starship, SpaceX launch vehicle currently under development by the company at its Boca Chica, Texas facility. Recently, SpaceX completed short test flights of 150 meters (just under 500 feet) of two previous prototype starships, SN5 and SN6 – and SN8, whose construction is currently set to be completed “in about a week” according to Musk will have “flaps & nosecone” and is ultimately destined for a test launch at much higher altitudes.

The prototypes that SpaceX flew and landed for its so-called “ short-hop ”

; tests in recent weeks have been full-sized, but with a simulated weight installed on top in place of the current domed nosepiece perching atop the Starship of final production and protect any cargo on board. SN5 and SN6, which are often compared to grain silos, also lack large control flaps on either side of the hake that will help control their flight. SN8 will have both, according to Musk.

This version of the prototype will also undergo the same early tests and its precursors, including a static fire and other ground checks, followed by another static fire before finally attempting to fly to an altitude of 60,000 feet – and then returning to the ground. for a controlled landing.

SpaceX is out of step when it comes to Starship development compared to Musk’s earliest and rosiest projections, but the CEO is known for overly optimistic estimates when it comes to timing, something he has repeatedly told himself.

Rocket development is also notoriously difficult, so this first attempt at high altitude flight could easily go very wrong. SpaceX, in particular, has a development program that focuses on rapid iteration and learning from previous mistakes while building concurrent development prototypes that incorporate several lessons gleaned from various generations. And while it may not have made Musk’s timing crazy, it is moving very quickly, especially now that the more recent prototypes have survived the pressure tests and managed to pull it off.


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