Boca Chica, Texas April 17, 2011 Elon Musk’s SpaceX delayed the first public and unintended test flight of its new combined Starship cruise ship and Super Heavy rocket at the last minute due to a cold valve count. At least two days.
The two-stage rocket, which stands above the 394-foot (120-meter) Statue of Liberty, was originally scheduled to blast off from SpaceX’s “Starbase” facility in Boca Chica, Texas, in a two-hour window. It started at 8 am EDT (1200 GMT).
But the California-based space company said on its live website that it would cancel the planned 90-minute flight into space by at least 48 hours, citing a frozen pressure valve in the rocket’s lower booster. That makes Wednesday the next available launch window for the mission.
SpaceX officials said on their website that ground crews would continue fueling the rocket in the final seconds of Monday’s countdown, turning the canceled launch bid into a “wet dress rehearsal” for the next test.
Musk, the company’s billionaire founder and CEO, told a private Twitter audience on Sunday night that the mission was more likely to be scrapped than continued to launch on Monday.
Getting the vehicle into space for the first time represents a key milestone in SpaceX’s quest to send humans to the moon and eventually to Mars — at least initially as part of NASA’s newly launched human spaceflight program, Artemis.
A successful maiden flight would also immediately designate the Starship system as the most powerful launch vehicle on Earth.
The lower-stage Super Heavy Booster and upper-stage Starship spacecraft are designed as reusable parts that carry them into space, capable of flying to soft landings to return to Earth — the standard for SpaceX’s tiny Falcon 9 rocket.
But none of the stages were returned for the first attempt to space. Instead, both parts of the spacecraft would end their initial flight with a crash landing at sea – the starship’s upper stage would come down over the Pacific Ocean after reaching a full Earth orbit.
Starship’s cruise ship prototype has made five subflights up to 6 miles (10 km) above Earth in recent years, but the superheavy booster has never left the ground.
In the year In February, SpaceX conducted a booster test, firing 31 of its 33 Raptor engines for about 10 seconds while the rocket locked vertically on a platform.
The Federal Aviation Administration last Friday authorized the first flight of the fully stackable rocket system, clearing the final regulatory hurdle for the long-awaited launch.
If all goes as planned for the next launch bid, all 33 Raptor engines will fire simultaneously, usually on Earth, in flight before re-entering the starship’s atmosphere and free-falling into the Pacific Ocean at high speed. 60 miles (97 km) off the coast of the northern Hawaiian Islands.
After separating from the Starship, the Super Heavy Booster is expected to perform a controlled reentry flight launch before entering the Gulf of Mexico.
As designed, the Starship rocket has twice the power of NASA’s own Space Launch System (SLS), which made its first flight in November, sending NASA’s Orion spacecraft on a 10-day journey around the moon. come back.
Reporting by Joe Skipper in Boca Chica, Texas and Joey Rollett in Denver; Writing and additional reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Clarence Fernandez
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