Science & Technology

SpaceX Starship Prototype Rocket Lands for the First Time

Credit: SpaceX

May 5th afternoonth, 2021, 5:24 pm local time, SpaceX Made a fifth attempt at high altitude test flight and soft landing Starship prototype. Considering the results of the previous test, many people were at the edge of the seat at this event. In all four trials, the prototype managed to reach maximum altitude and performed a belly flop operation, but exploded during (or shortly after) landing.

The 15th iteration of Starship Does the prototype (SN15) succeed where other prototypes fail? As of 5:30 pm local time (6:30 pm Eastern Standard Time, 3:30 pm Pacific Standard Time), the answer to that question is:With GUSTO!! In its fifth attempt, the SN15 reached a target altitude of 10 km (6.2 mi), not only separated the belly flop from the controlled descent, but also stopped landing, with no accidents thereafter. ..

In other words, it’s a complete success!

How much of SpaceX’s future is Starship And Super heavy Launch system, this is certainly good news. This does more than just replace the Falcon rocket family with: Starship It also includes SpaceX’s desire to fulfill the recently awarded contract to transport everything from crew and cargo to low earth orbit (LEO). NASA Develop a reusable lunar module.

The flight began at 5:24:10 pm CST (6:24:10 EST; 3:24:10 pm CST) in foggy conditions. SN11 The flight was experienced a few weeks ago. As in all previous cases Starship I reached the apogee, shut down the three Raptor engines (one at a time), and then turned around for a descent (“very flop” operation). But this time, Starship reignited the two Raptor engines and descended the last few meters, so the problem didn’t occur.

And 6 minutes and 8 seconds after the launch, SN15 It landed on the landing pad and appeared intact. In the first two trials SN8 And SN9 The prototype exploded when it landed, becoming too hot or spinning too much. During the third SN10 A slight glitch on the landing gear made it difficult to land on one side, causing a propellant leak and causing a fire and explosion.

Then there was SN11 High altitude flight that exploded during the descent and dropped debris across the landing pad. This resulted in a total of four explosions within four months. This is something that Blue Origin and Dynetics have always mentioned when filing a complaint with NASA. You see, during all this test SpaceX was awarded A lucrative contract worth $ 2.9 billion to develop NASA’s Human Landing System (HLS).

As part of the Artemis program, SpaceX 3 companies Compete to secure the right to build a lander to transport Artemis III Astronauts heading for a lunar eclipse in 2024 – others are Blue Origin and Dynetics.For their suggestions, SpaceX has provided a modified version of Starship It will carry a crew of six astronauts from Earth to the Moon, enabling surface EVA.

Shortly after NASA gave SpaceX an Option A contract, the two companies filed a complaint with NASA for lack of proper consultation.As Dynetics mentioned multiple times in the complaint on page 61, they Government Accountability Office In the first solicitation (co-signed by Blue Origin), NASA showed that it was working to foster a competitive environment.

This included the choice of two candidates for the Option A contract, which NASA eventually opposed, citing budget constraints and schedule issues. In addition, the Dynetics legal team also noted the “high and unacceptable risks” associated with SpaceX’s approach. If there was ambiguity in what they were getting, Dynetics elaborated on it in their complaints:

“”[T]The source selection statement does not mention the inherent risks associated with the fact that four SpaceX Starship prototypes have exploded in the last four months alone. Landing a person on the moon requires a great deal of space system engineering to identify and mitigate the significant risks inherent in manned spaceflight. NASA also acknowledged SpaceX’s apparent lack of such system engineering. “

In summary, both Blue Origin and Dynetics complained that they didn’t announce in advance that NASA would go with one contractor. Second, they felt that contractors should have better safety records, not including prototype explosions. Legal issues are generally not known to be kind and gentle, but the nature of dynetics complaints is a bit jagged.

Perhaps the mask’s impotence joke aimed at Bezos had something to do with it. Anyway, NASA Make a statement Through an official spokesperson last week, “In accordance with GAO’s protest, NASA will suspend the progress of the HLS (Human Landing System) contract against SpaceX until GAO resolves all outstanding proceedings related to this procurement. I instructed you. “

Therefore, this successful test of SN15 is a bit of a double pain. On the other hand, SpaceX has orbit, moon, MarsAnd (someday) beyond that. SpaceX’s participation in the Artemis program, on the other hand, has been challenged, partly based on records of success and failure. Starship prototype.

SpaceX has undermined the challenge of competition by demonstrating that the system can perform all important operations safely and effectively. There is no way to know if this will affect NASA’s decision on a stop order in HLS. But for SpaceX and Musk, it has to feel like icing to what was already a big win for the company.

With all that in mind, it must feel pretty good to be Elon Musk now!

Originally published Today’s universe..

SpaceX Starship Prototype Rocket Lands for the First Time SpaceX Starship Prototype Rocket Lands for the First Time

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