Starship SN8 has arrived at the launch site for a test campaign full of firsts for SpaceX’s prototype vehicle. Complete with aero surfaces, SN8 will be tested and launched with three Raptor engines on a refined test flight to 50,000 feet (15 km). This vehicle is the first in a family of Starships that will incrementally test the launch, return, and landing capability ahead of the push to orbit next year.
SN8’s trip to the launch site waited until the test program with SN7.1 had concluded, with – as planned – a pressurization to failure.
Known as the Burst Test, SN7.1 concluded several days of testing with the loading of LN2 (Liquid Nitrogen) at cryogenic temperatures before closing the vents, allowing pressure readings to be taken until the tank finally “popped”.
According to SpaceX’s CEO and Chief Designer, SN7.1 achieved a good “bar rating” – per the pressure it reached before giving up, allowing for additional improvements to be made.
8 bar differential in ullage, 9 bar at base due to propellant head. It’s enough. Improvements in work.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 26, 2020
Notably, while it was assumed SN7.1 was made exclusively from the 304L alloy, some ...