SpaceX Starship SN10 upgrades: Elon Musk to improve on landing capabilities

Elon Musk discusses future of SpaceX's Starship system

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The SN10 could launch as early as this week, with Elon Musk and SpaceX keen to test the Starship prototype. When exactly the launch will be is being kept secret by SpaceX, but the company hope to launch by February 21. The SN9 finally launched on February 2 after weeks of delays, but the controlled landing did not go to plan.

The rocket successfully cruised at an altitude of 10 kilometres, but the descent of the rocket did not pan out as Mr Musk and co had anticipated.

As SN9 approached the landing pad, one of SN9’s engines failed to ignite and the rocket struggled to control its speed.

Once it hit the ground, the spacecraft exploded into a huge ball of flames.

The SN9’s predecessor, the SN8, suffered a similar fate on its attempted land in December.

However, this time around, the SN10 will ignite all three engines during the descent.

Mr Musk previously hinted at this on Twitter.

Twitter user MadOverlord asked Mr Musk: “Question: Why only light two engines for landing? Any engine failure means loss of vehicle, so you have two single points of failure.

“Why not light all three, do the flip, then pick the best two and turn off the other?”

Mr Musk seemed to agree with the point, simply replying: “We were too dumb.”

Now he has revealed the company will ignite all three engines, which will reduce the speed of the rocket on its descent, and give it more control as it heads for the landing pad.

Mr Musk said: “We’re working on lowering min throttle of Raptor, so that there is engine redundancy throughout the landing burn.”

However, even with all three engines ignited, Mr Musk said there is still only slightly more than half a chance the launch will be a success.

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Mr Musk said on Twitter: “Success on landing probability is ~60 percent this time.”

How many Starship prototypes there will be is unknown, but Mr Musk and co need to get everything perfect if they are to ever get humans to Mars.

Mr Musk has previously said he is “highly confident” his SpaceX can get humans to Mars by 2026.

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