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Starship SN15 prepares for flight following major NASA vindication

18 Apr 2021, 22:12 UTC
Starship SN15 prepares for flight following major NASA vindication
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Starship SN15 is expected to undergo a Static Fire test as early as Monday to clear the path for a test flight no earlier than Tuesday as SpaceX’s rapidly reusable interplanetary launch and landing system gained a massive sign of NASA approval – and a ton of government cash to boot.
SpaceX was the sole winner of NASA’s initial Human Landing System (HLS) award worth in total more than $2.9 billion, meaning the human return to the Moon’s surface will be via Starship.
Starship SN15:
Classed as the next evolution of the prototype Starships, SN15 will aim to go one step further than its predecessors.
Although SN8 through SN11 have all successfully launched to their planned apogee, flipped, and conducted a stable “bellyflop” return to the landing site, only SN10 managed to successfully land upright on the pad before then exploding due to the hard landing.
SN11 exploded during the Raptor relight procedure that initiates the flip maneuver, resulting in the vehicle falling to the ground in pieces, albeit under the cloak of thick fog. One of the known modifications on SN15 – to the engines – will aid the chances of success.

Starships – four visual side-by-side cool clips ...

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