SpaceX conducts key stress tests for its Starship program

SpaceX has completed the critical tests it needs to develop its next Starship prototype, conducting stress tests on fuel tanks at the Starship development site in Boca Chica, Texas, until the equipment fails. The test was carried out after a low-intensity stress test on the same tank, which caused the weld to break, which was then corrected by the staff, paving the way for a good test on Tuesday night.

SpaceX conducts key stress tests for its Starship program

SpaceX is working on a third prototype of its starship at its texas plant, designed for high-altitude and orbital testing. ‘Based on the current development schedule, we can expect the starship, called SN1, to be completed and ready for testing sometime around June,’ said Elon Musk, SpaceX’s chief executive.

SpaceX completed tests on Tuesday to test the maximum pressure that tanks can withstand before they fail, and Musk said on Twitter that the tank had reached a maximum pressure level of 8.5 bar before the failure. This is a large number, not only because it easily exceeds the 6 bar pressure rating required for the Starship Orbital Flight Test, but also because it matches the 8.5 bar number required for the rated ship.

Test failures are a key component of any new spacecraft development, as this means that the plant can set real-world boundaries in real-world scenarios, not just in simulation or theory, depending on the spacecraft’s capacity. SpaceX tested the tank’s pressure levels at room temperature and low temperatures, which are more similar to what the aircraft experienced in space.

Ultimately, Starship is designed to be made of stainless steel on its exterior surface, which reduces costs while providing outstanding durability and reusability. With Starship, SpaceX intends to completely replace its Falcon series of launch vehicles, offering a fully reusable spacecraft that can be paired with overweight boosters for heavy loads (and trips to Mars). It can carry considerable payloads or ride shared tasks consisting of smaller cargo brought by different customers.