Starship Hops!

Just a few days ago, we watched the completion of the full cycle test of the Falcon 9 and Dragon capsule as a crewed spacecraft as it brought two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station and back safely to Earth.

Today (Tuesday, August 4th) we witnessed an event that thousands of space fans have waited on for months. The next generation space vehicle, Starship, took it’s first flight. It lifted off of its engine test stand on its new methane burning Rapture engine, flew a hundred and fifty or so feet up, moved over a little, sprouted landing legs, and rested back on the ground among clouds of smoke and dust!

Every rocket needs its first flight to prove its metal and now the SpaceX Starship has arrived. Why is this a big deal? When fully operational this spacecraft will be, by far, the biggest orbital rocket in history. It also uses no major disposable parts…no throwaway second stage or service module like the Falcon 9 and Dragon have. Mostly all they have to do to fly this design multiple times is refuel it.

The prototype that flew today will probably never go to orbit, but it checked off test boxes and provided data for the rocket that will. Unlike other orbital rockets that get thrown away after every flight, they can’t do a serious orbital test flight of this system until after they’ve first proven that these vehicles can land safely.

Someday soon, with fins for flight, this design will go miles higher, test fall through the atmosphere, and land.

They don’t just practice landing this beast to save money either. They plan to use a version of this design to carry people on suborbital flights around the world.

Another variant has a contract with NASA to land on the Moon.

Ultimately, they intend for Starship to carry a hundred people to the surface of Mars.

Are you excited yet? Stay tuned.

Photo by SpaceX on Pexels.com

~ by Bill Housley on August 4, 2020.

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