SpaceX seems to have completed testing the Starship spacecraft at short distances. Elon Musk, the company’s CEO, shared on his Twitter account that the SN8 Starship prototype will be ready within a week and Starship will perform its first high-altitude test. SpaceX will raise the spacecraft to an altitude of about 18,000 meters and lower it back after the static ignition test and controls.
The spacecraft will also feature small fins and a cone-shaped nose. Starship’s current prototypes such as the SN5 and SN6 featured weight simulations instead of a real nose at the top. These prototypes also did not have wings to direct flight.
It is not certain when the SN8 will make its first flight. It is stated that this process may take some time depending on the course of the ground tests. SpaceX made its first application for a high-altitude flight last February.
SN8 Starship with flaps & nosecone should be done in about a week. Then static fire, checkouts, static fire, fly to 60,000 ft & back.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 12, 2020
Whenever the flight takes place, it can be easily said that this will be an important milestone for the company. SpaceX, which has been successful with Crew Dragon, is focused on Starship in its future plans. Although 18,000 meters is quite far from space, reaching this height will show that Starship is capable of more than just short-haul take-offs. This test will be one of the last big steps taken before Starship reaches orbit.