BEIJING, May 29 (UPI) — U.S. space exploration technology company SpaceX has obtained a flight permit from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly a prototype of the Starship spacecraft in preparation for a test flight at its base in boca Chica, Texas,media reported.
SpaceX has been working hard to prepare for low-altitude, short-lived, limited flight tests of the Starship prototype, and earlier today re-tested the static engine ignition of the fourth-generation spacecraft under development.
The FAA has officially granted SpaceX permission to carry out a mission called a “reusable launch tool,” meaning the Starship prototype has been able to take off and land from the SpaceX launch site in the village of Boca Chica. SpaceX, led by Elon Musk, has conducted similar tests, but previous tests have previously used Starhopper, a smaller and less mature design, than the Starship spacecraft. The Starhopper model was used primarily to test the capabilities of the Raptor rocket engine that will drive the Starship spacecraft in the future.
SpaceX has developed several generations of Starship prototypes since flying last year. In fact, none of these starship prototypes have passed the stress test, but the SN4, which is currently preparing for test flight, has not only passed the pressure test, but also passed the static ignition test of the only Raptor engine.
The company’s current plan is to fly a small, Starhopper-like, Hop, with a maximum altitude of up to 500 feet. If the test is successful, the next time will carry more Raptor engines, trying to test-fire higher flying altitudes. SpaceX is accelerating the construction of a new generation of starship ships as testing of existing models progresses, with the hope of shortening the overall development time span.
SpaceX is still racing to do one thing. SpaceX is one of three companies selected and signed a contract with NASA to develop a manned lander for the Artemis Program, a space exploration program under way by NASA. NASA plans to return to the moon by 2024, and while the contract doesn’t require each company to develop a lander within that time frame, it’s definitely a goal, even to make it a show-off capital for the three winning companies. (Berg)