This Thursday (3), SpaceX successfully performed a low altitude flight test of Starship Serial Number 6 (SN6), in Boca Chica, Texas (United States). The company repeated the feat achieved in early August, when the previous version of the vehicle, SN5, climbed to 150 meters in height.
The sixth prototype of the spacecraft with which Elon Musk intends to colonize Mars took a new “leap” 150 meters above the ground, driven by a single Raptor engine. A few seconds after taking off, the Starship SN6 returned to the takeoff location, in a vertical landing.
Test flights like the one that just happened (see the video below) are essential for SpaceX, as they allow to check the functioning of important parts of the ship, such as the plumbing systems for the fuel tanks and the rocket engine. The Raptor’s thrust vector control system in flight is another part that has been carefully analyzed.
After completing the short flights, which demonstrated the basic control of the vehicle, the company already thinks about going higher. The next intermediate jumps must take place at higher altitudes, which can be carried out by the SN5 and SN6 themselves or using new prototypes.
High altitude flights
Following the tests, after the company makes new lower flights, the next goal is to make a jump at 20 km high, much higher than the equipment has been so far.
The first prototype to arrive there must be the SN8, which is already being developed. Unlike current models, which look like a huge stainless steel water tower, the future version will have a design closer to that of the real ship, including its size, wings and nose.
When the project is ready to take off towards Mars, the company wants to build 1,000 ships over 10 years, to enable the colonization of the Red Planet.