Finally on Saturday November 18th second start attempt From spaceship From SpaceX in ship and super heavy configuration. The large, fully reusable space rocket The launch occurred for the first time on April 20 this year, passing through the launch and Max-Q (point of maximum dynamic pressure) phases, but failing to reach stage separation and the Flight Termination System (FTS) automatic destruction system intervened.
Despite the initial declarations of Elon Musk Anyone who saw a possible launch within a few months knew it would take a lot of work SpaceX It was very complex both to solve the problems encountered and develop the prototype, and to comply with the requirements of the government authorities that oversee this type of activity. After months of work and updates, everything seemed ready last week lift up From spaceship However, there was already a problem with an actuator on Friday thanks to the FAA issuing the modified license Super Heavy Booster 9 he postponed it IFT-2 test (Integrated flight test) the following day.
The second launch of Starship: a good result for SpaceX
The launch of the large space rocket, with a height of about 120 meters, of which 70 meters for Super Heavy and 50 meters for Ship, took place on November 18 at around 2:00 p.m. (Italian time). THE 33 atmospheric Raptor 2 engines they lifted spaceship from the OLM orbital platform and also leaves behind the Mechazilla launch tower and the new flame deflector in a few seconds. There was immediately a noticeable difference compared to the IFT-1 of a few months ago, where the concrete of the base had failed and had been destroyed, sending boulders a considerable distance and raising a cloud of dust that also affected the nearby area area reached Port Isabel.
This had likely damaged some of the Super Heavy’s Raptor 2 engines as well as the flight management computer’s communications system, causing uncontrolled fires in the lower section. This resulted in reaching an altitude of 39 km, where lift was then lost and the FTS system came into operation (delayed). With spaceship during the’IFT-2 Instead, all 33 Raptor 2 engines could be observed going through the initial phases of launch and arriving at phase separation.
Here those of the first stage were shut down (except the three middle ones) and the six Raptor 2 engines, three atmospheric and three space, from Ship 25 were switched on, which also carried out the workhot production. This step was not present in the first test and involves firing the second stage engines before stage separation, allowing a larger payload to be put into orbit.
Watch as the three center engines of the spacecraft’s upper stage are suspended shortly after separation. Just before ignition for the hot phase, the engines tilt outward to direct their exhaust gases toward the vented intermediate stage before re-centering for ascent. pic.twitter.com/CCSVXfLcuE
– SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 19, 2023
Super Heavy Booster 9 At this point, the Gulf of Mexico trench began to rotate, but the engines were not properly restarted, causing them to lose buoyancy and the FTS to intervene, resulting in the destruction of the stadium. Instead, ship 25 continued the flight, but already over Puerto Rico the stadium was severely damaged and in this case too, the loss of attitude and probably structural stability prompted the FTS to intervene. There are currently no reports of property damage or injuries to people.
Spaceship: failure or success?
The second launch of Starship so it was a Success or a Fail? Looking at the mission based on the documentation provided by the FAA, not all steps were completed and therefore the mission was not completed. In particular, the ship should have reached a speed close to orbital speed (but not entered orbit) and landed near Hawaii, while Super Heavy should have touched the water in the Gulf of Mexico. In both cases, the wearers were not expected to recover.
There are some considerations to be made. These are prototypes of particularly complex systems whose dimensions and properties have never been seen before on this scale. Saturn V was much less powerful and not reusable, while the Soviet N1 rocket never reached space. Paraphrasing a proverb “It’s rocket science.”.
If you look at that IFT-2 test From spaceship Instead, we know that Ship 25 reached space by crossing the Kármán Line (100 km away) and reaching a maximum altitude of about 150 km. Stage separation occurred correctly, the FTS system appeared to have responded more quickly than IFT-1, and the ground systems (launch pad and turret) suffered only minor and easily repairable damage.
SpaceX he wrote about it “Starship returned to integrated flight testing with its second launch from Starbase Texas. Even though it wasn’t in a lab or test bench, it was absolutely a test. What we did today will provide valuable data to quickly advance Starship.” […] In a test like this, success comes from what we learn, and today’s test will help us improve Starship’s reliability as SpaceX seeks to make life multiplanetary.”.
Many followed the test, including the NASA with his aircraft WB-57 (code N927NA) and the FAA. The US space agency in particular is focusing on this spaceship as a lunar lander for the Artemis III and Artemis IV missions (however, it is not excluded that further contracts for launches of various types will be awarded in the future). There were also many enthusiasts in the area, while Elon Musk was present on site (at the mission control center) and was also misled publication an image about X of spaceship during the separation of the stages, which instead a make.
The observation flight of NASA’s WB-57 aircraft on November 18th
When will the next test take place? First SpaceX You need to look at the data from the second launch, figure out what went wrong, and take corrective action (followed by the FAA). Compared to the previous rollout, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is not expected to slow the FAA’s issuance of the modified license. Theoretically, a new launch could be possible in the first half of next year, perhaps towards the end of January or February. This is currently speculation and new information could arrive in the coming weeks.