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Le Starship de SpaceX se séparant du Super Heavy (l'étage utilisé pour le lancement). © SpaceX

How will the first orbital flight of the Starship and Super Heavy take off?

SpaceX, which has yet to be completed with its SN Series flying tanks and has yet to test flying Super Heavy, is already preparing for the Starship’s first orbital flight in its full configuration. This point-to-point flight is expected by the end of the year and will consist of connecting the Boca Chica base in Texas with the Hawaiian archipelago through spaceflight. Our explanations.

As part of the development of the Starship space transportation system, SpaceX is preparing for a mission Orbital Mark a point to test his ship in its final configuration, that is, its two stages. On the other hand, the main stage is called Super Heavy, and the Starship which defines the transport vehicle and the upper stage of launcher.

This point-to-point flight is a journey in space that aims to connect Texas withThe archipelago From Hawaii. Concretely, SpaceX plans to take off the launch pad from Boca Chica (Texas), followed by a flight in space before landing in the open sea, about a hundred kilometers off the northwest coast of Kauai Island, in the Hawaiian archipelago. For this trip, there was no longer any question about celebrities Series tanks plane SN But the Starship is in its final version with two floors. The first floor is more commonly referred to as the main floor, it is called super heavy, and the upstairs floor.

The Complete Journey of the Starship is, in its final version, two stories high

A few days ago, SpaceX submitted a request to the US Federal Communications CommissionPermission to use communication frequencies Between Earth, satellite relays and the Starship launcher during this test, which is scheduled to last approximately 90 minutes. This first-of-its-kind test flight is clearly very bold, especially as SpaceX plans it by the end of the year. This leaves little time to test the Super Heavy main stage on your own without the spacecraft. While the SN Prototypes With minimal Raptor motors, the Super Heavy has 28 motors!

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According to the scenario described by SpaceX for this mission, the 28 Raptors from the Super Heavy will operate for approximately two minutes and 50 seconds before the spacecraft detaches from it. The Super Heavy return stage will be followed by the Gulf of Mexico with a landing on a battleship located about twenty kilometers from the coast, 8 minutes and 15 seconds after launch. During this time, the spacecraft will fire its engines for 3 minutes 56 seconds. Once the spacecraft reaches the required orbital speed, at about 27,000 kilometers per hour, the engines will be shut down, more or less 8 minutes and 41 seconds after the mission begins. Once the engines are switched off, the Starship will begin to descend to its point of impact where it must be damaged at sea.

While the Super Heavy main stage will return to Earth on dry land, this will not be the case for the Starship, which must be damaged at sea. Earlier this year, Elon Musk It has been made clear that ” If he did not expect special problems during takeoff from Super Heavy and Starship On the other hand, he admitted that it would likely be necessary. Several attempts before SpaceX mastered the Starship’s return and landing maneuvers from orbit ».

The main objective of this trip is to obtain as much data as possible about the dynamics of reentry into the atmosphere in order to better understand the thermal and aerodynamic constraints to which the vehicle will be exposed. In fact, this is very difficult to predict and thus design. Hence the importance of these test flights that will improve Computer simulation And, if necessary, to modify and / or adapt the actuator architecture.

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