After SpaceX's unsuccessful launch of SN11, the company is determined to move forward and continue with its mission. SpaceX has announced that it is working on the latest rocket prototype, the Starlink SN15.
Starship SN15 launch
Elon Musk's company rolled out the newest Starship test vehicle called Serial No. 15 or SN15. The rollout was done in its South Texas launch pad on Apr. 8, just over a week after its predecessor exploded during a high-altitude flight, according to the Independent UK.
The previous Starship vehicle, SN11, performed really well during most of its 6.2-mile-high flight on March 30. However, SN11 suffered a serious problem while it was gearing up for landing. Since then, SpaceX decided to skip the SN12, SN13, and SN14 iterations, going directly from SN11 to SN15.
That has been the pattern for all of the four Starship prototypes that have attempted this leap in the past four months, Teslarati reported.
All flew well until the very end when it is time to land. SN10 did land in one piece in early March, but unfortunately exploded a few minutes later.
Now SpaceX is gearing up SN15 for a similar flight in the near future.
There is a reason to be optimistic about a different outcome this time, and not just because SpaceX tends to learn fast from issues that crop up during testing, it is because SN15 is a much-improved Starship prototype, featuring hundreds of design improvements across structures, avionics, software and engine, Musk confirm via Twitter.
SpaceX is developing Starship to take people to the moon, to Mars and to other faraway locations. The deep-space transportation system consists of two elements, both of which are designed to be fully reusable: a 165-foot-high spacecraft called Starship and a giant first-stage rocket known as Super Heavy.
Both Starship and Super Heavy will be powered by the next-generation Raptor engines of SpaceX. There will be six Raptor engines for the spacecraft and 30 for the first-stage booster. Just like the four other vehicles that tried the 6-mile leap, the SN15 prototype will have three Raptors.
When will the SN15 take place?
According to the documents that SpaceX filed with the US Federal Communications Commission or FCC, SpaceX may be looking to fly the SN15 on Apr. 20.
The documents reveal SpaceX is looking to test a Starlink terminal onboard the spacecraft. Starlink is the SpaceX's space-based broadband that is beamed to Earth by a growing constellation of satellites in low-Earth orbit, as per Republic World.
SpaceX has requested permission to operate a single terminal within 5km of Boca Chica on an experimental basis at altitudes not to exceed 12.5km. Starship's test flights have been up to altitudes of 12.5 and 10km.
The request states that the authority requested will be limited in duration. SpaceX requested to operate for a period of 60 days only starting Apr. 20. These operations will only occur on the ground or during test flights of durations that must not exceed 8 minutes.
The terminal will be electrically identical to Earth stations that are already authorized under SpaceX's blanket Earth station authorizations as well as its pending application for experimental authorization to operate a limited number of user terminals aboard aircraft.
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Written by Sieeka Khan