SpaceX Gearing Up for Orbital Test of its Starship Spacecraft
SpaceX is gearing up to start test flying its orbital-class spacecraft the Starship.
In a filing with the Federal Communications Commission and confirmed in a Tweet by SpaceX founder Elon Musk, the company said the Starship will reach an altitude 74,000 feet in the test before coming back down to earth. That's much better than its predecessor the Starhopper which reached a distance of 500 feet.
In a tweet Musk confirmed a report in Teslarati, which revealed the documents filed with the FCC.
Getting ready for flight of orbit-class Starship design https://t.co/CtXtq522ia— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 10, 2019
Will the test launch happen on 13 October?
Currently, SpaceX employees are working on the assembly and construction of the Starship prototype that will be used in the test. Teslarati reported the team at SpaceX is working around the clock to get the Starship ready for its test launch. Musk has already scheduled a Starship event for 28 September, where he is expected to provide an update. Media reports speculate that at the event it will likely show off the assembled prototype. It's expected to launch in October with 13 October the potential launch date, according to one publication.
The move on the part of SpaceX comes shortly after its Starhopper spacecraft completed a hover test. In late August during its test of the Starhopper, it was able to hover 500 feet above the ground at SpaceX's Boca Chica, Texas facility. The hover lasted a little under a minute. The Starhopper landed back successfully on a landing pad that will be used to test the Starship. It had previously hovered the Starhopper for around 22 seconds and flew up about 65 feet.
While SpaceX is moving quickly to test its Starship it may not have much choice. It already set 2021 as the year for the first commercial flight. But in order to do that, it has to demonstrate that it can send the rocket to orbit.
In addition to gearing up for more tests, the company has reportedly been working to pinpoint the exact location where the Starship will land the first humans on Mars.