SpaceX, on August 4, 2020, completed a test flight of its Starship Prototype vehicle, dubbed SN5 with a 500-foot “hop”. After months of delays and testing setbacks, Starship next-generation reusable launch vehicle finally made a brief flight at the company’s South Texas test site.
Starship is the company’s latest concept for an interplanetary launch and landing vehicle. The Starship along with its Super Heavy Booster is expected to send large payloads deep into the outer solar system. It is also an integral part of Musk’s plans to send humans to Mars.
The SN5 is the latest prototype of SpaceX’s next-generation Starship rocket. On August 4, the Starship SN5 ignited its single Raptor engine, and slowly rose to 500 feet, hovered and gently landed on a nearby Launchpad.
Before now, a smaller test vehicle known as “Starhopper” was tested in 2019, which used the new Raptor engine and allowed the company to hone in on conceptual designs as well as seeing how they would fly. The current version of the Starship is less visually appealing than the early renders. There is a long way to go but this can be seen as a replacement for the Falcon 9, which has been in the core of SpaceX’s operations for the last several years. SpaceX has also created SN6 to test out, and SN7 is under construction as well.
The success of SN5 comes just two days after SpaceX saw its crew on the Dragon spacecraft- NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley- return from the International Space Station
SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk expressed his happiness with the test in a series of tweets shortly after the flight.
Starship takes flight pic.twitter.com/IWvwcA05hl
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) August 5, 2020
The success of the test has succeeded in showcasing the team’s capabilities and readiness to redefine the future of commercial space travel. It is planning to be fully operational by the end of this year and launch commercial payloads on the rocket by 2021.