The SpaceX spacecraft launch pad appears to have passed its second trial of fire. SpaceX’s Starbase in South Texas failed during the first test flight of a fully manned Starship spacecraft on April 20. That day, the massive rocket’s 33 Raptor first stage engines blasted a large crater beneath the field, sending chunks of concrete and other debris flying into the Texas sky.
To prevent this type of damage from happening again, SpaceX placed a waterproof steel plate under the pad after the first flight. The new plate was put to the test on Saturday, November 18, when Starship took off for the second time in history, and it did a good job, according to company founder and CEO Elon Musk.
“I just inspected the starship’s launch pad, it is in excellent condition! The water-cooled steel plate does not need repairs on the next launch. Congratulations to the @SpaceX team and contractors for designing and building such a reliable system so quickly!” Musk made the announcement in a message on X (formerly Twitter) on Sunday, November 19.
SpaceX is developing Starship to help humanity expand its presence on the Moon and Mars. The nearly 400-foot-long (122 meters) rocket-spacecraft is designed to be completely and quickly reusable. This is an important breakthrough that Musk believes will make such ambitious research achievements possible.
Both Starship test flights were intended to send the upper stage spacecraft to a large portion of Earth. The operation targeted the Pacific Ocean near the Hawaiian Islands after flying eastward through the Gulf of Mexico and beyond. Although some important milestones were achieved in the second flight, both flights failed to achieve this goal.
For example, Saturday’s flight took twice as long as the march in April; eight minutes compared to four minutes. On Saturday, Starship’s two stages were successfully separated; This was a major feat the ship had failed to achieve on its first mission.
Even more progress could be made soon: Starship, which will conduct its third test flight, should technically be ready for takeoff in just three to four weeks, Musk said over the weekend.
However, this does not necessarily mean that we will see another Starship mission in 2023. SpaceX still needs to obtain a launch license from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which is investigating Saturday’s flight.
Source: Port Altele
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