14.05.2021 / 10:26 // SpaceX

Having succeeded in landing a Starship on its fifth attempt with SN15, SpaceX is preparing for a test flight into orbit. As stated in the document filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on May 13, 2021, the Super Heavy sub-stage will also be used. The launch is to take place at Starbase (Boca Chica, Texas, USA), just like the previous test flights.

After 171 seconds, the Super Heavy booster is expected to separate from the Starship and land about 32 kilometers (20 miles) offshore in the Gulf of Mexico about eight minutes later.

Planned trajectory of the Super Heavy booster from launch to landing, Gulf of Mexico,
© SpaceX / FCC / Google Earth

The Starship itself then flies on into orbit over the strait between Florida and Cuba (Florida Straits). Just under nine minutes after launch, the Starship's engines are shut down (Second Engine Cut-off, SECO).

Planned trajectory of the Starship into orbit over the Florida Straits,
© SpaceX / FCC / Google Earth.

After 90 minutes, the "soft landing in the sea" is planned about 100 km (about 62 miles) off the northwest coast of the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

Planned landing site off the northwest coast of the Hawaiian island of Kauai,
© SpaceX / FCC / Google Earth

With the planned test flight, SpaceX wants to gain as much data as possible. By analyzing the entry dynamics, Elon Musk's team hopes to better understand how the spacecraft behaves in a flight mode that is extremely difficult to predict accurately or replicate computationally. The data obtained will inform any modifications to the Starship and allow the California-based company to create better models and more accurate simulations.

But the findings will also be incorporated into the Concept of Operations (CONOPS). This user-oriented document describes the characteristics of a proposed system from the user's perspective. A CONOPS is used to communicate the overall quantitative and qualitative characteristics of the system to stakeholders.

It is currently not known when the outlined test flight will take place.


via FCC, CNBC, Tim Dodd (@Erdayastronaut)

Written by (MWe)

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