SpaceX has been on a heat streak in recent times, and the company has managed to achieve a new milestone. A Starship SN5 spacecraft went airborne for 40 seconds on August 5 during a test that took place at the SpaceX facility near Boca Chica.
The test took place early in the morning. During the event, the spacecraft hoped into the air and then extended the landing gear and managed to return to the surface without issues. Since the spacecraft is still in the early stages of testing, it was an uncrewed flight, but the results are promising.
SN5 is the second Starship prototype to go airborne in one year, being preceded by Starhopper. While Starhopper managed to complete several test flights, SpaceX decided to retire the model and convert it into a fixed Raptor engine test stand.
SpaceX has conducted several Starship test flights in the past, but issues appeared in many cases, including damage caused by pressurization or during the engine-firing tests. Starhopper and Starship SN5 come with a single Raptor engine, but the final version will have six engines and a carrying capacity of more of up to 100 people, which would be a great step forward for space tourism.
Into the stars
According to the current plan, the commercial version of the Starship will be carried into space with the help of a high-power Super Heavy Rocket fitted with 31 raptor engines. As both vehicles have been designed with reusability in mind, the operational cost will be considerably lower.
Once the desired position is achieved, the Super Heavy rocket will return to Earth while the Starship would be able to reach the Moon or Mars on ts own. Several prototypes will be developed until a final version will be cleared for practical use, but distant missions to Red Planet might become possible in the following decades.