SpaceX hints Starship SN15 will fly again in a matter of days – ‘Stay tuned’
SpaceX: Expert discusses Starship test flights
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SpaceX fans might be in for a treat thanks to a promising clue shared by one of the company’s staff. After the successful first flight and landing of the Starship SN15 last week (May 5), Elon Musk and co could be gearing up to launch the Mars rocket once more. Starship SN15 was the first full-scale prototype to ace its test flight, launching to a height of 32,000ft (10km) and touching back down in one piece at SpaceX’s Boca Chica facility in South Texas.
SpaceX fans worldwide are now desperate to know whether the SN15 will take off into the skies once more or whether it will be succeeded by the SN16 iteration.
Although reusability is key to SpaceX’s success, the company has not attempted this before with its Starship line of spacecraft.
Unlike the iconic Falcon 9 booster rocket, Starship is still in the development stage and the rocket has so far exploded more times than it has landed in one piece.
But Michael Andrews, a supply chain supervisor at SpaceX, has teased the company might attempt to refly the rocket “in the days ahead” and fans are now waiting for official confirmation.
Speaking during a live stream for SpaceX’s Starlink mission on Sunday, hesaid: “Similar to previous high-altitude flight tests of Starship, Serial Number 15 (SN15) was powered through ascent by its three Raptor engines, with each shutting off in sequence prior to the vehicle reaching its apogee approximately 10km above sea level.
“SN15 then performed a propellant transition to the header tanks, which hold landing propellant, before reorienting itself for entry and a controlled aerodynamic descent.
“Finally, the Raptor engines ignited as the vehicle performed the landing flip manoeuvre, immediately before successfully touching down on the landing pad.
“Now these test flights and pathfinders are all about developing a transportation system that can help humanity return to the Moon, travel to Mars, and even go beyond.
“Please stay tuned for additional test flights in the days ahead and be sure to check our social media accounts for more Starship updates.”
A possible reflight of the SN15 was also teased by Mr Musk himself when he tweeted: “Might try to refly the SN15 soon.”
The news was welcomed by SpaceX fans and pundits alike who are desperate to see more of the Starship rocket in action.
Eric Ralph, a senior spaceflight correspondent at Teslarati tweeted: “I presume that choice of words wasn’t meant to sound so pointed but the Starship launch addict in me wants to believe that ‘additional flight tests in the days ahead’ means that the next flight or flights are expected VERY soon.
“I’ll also note that Starship SN15 is STILL just hanging out at the landing zone when SpaceX could have easily transported it elsewhere within the last several days…”
Another person speculated: “To install new landing legs. It will take another day or two and static fire after that then it is flight time…
“It is possible, in a week time SN15 will fly. Possibly Monday next week.”
And a third fan said: “Days… Maybe they are reflying. I mean if the engines are good then send it!!! @elonmusk”
According to Boca Chica resident and NASASpaceflight member Mary, the SpaceX rocket has been transported back to the Boca Chica launch site, suggesting another flight is on the table.
Mary shared on Twitter photos of the rocket being transported and a crane rolling out to host the rocket on its launch stand.
One SpaceX fan said: “Looks like this will be flying again soon. Fantastic. Go higher SN15. Thank you Mary.”
And another person said: “Seems SpaceX weren’t kidding when they mentioned more Starship testing in a few days…”
The US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has already approved the Starship SN15, SN16 and SN17 for flight.
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