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SpaceX speed with the flagship prototype for the NASA Moon Lander program

The race has intensified to create and test prototypes of NASA’s human landing system to help astronauts land on the lunar surface. There were contracts for the vehicle Given For three companies earlier this year. Two-thirds of the respondents have provided their mob details to the organization. Third, SpaceX is busy testing prototypes at its facility in Boca Chicago, Texas. These prototypes belong to the company’s upper echelon of the Starship launch vehicle platform – which wants to completely replace the existing Falcon launch vehicle lineup.

The upcoming hop of SpaceX Starship will be at the forefront of integrating key structural elements

So far, SpaceX has hosted two non-prototype hops of its top-level Starship spacecraft. The ‘vehicle’ in these tests consists primarily of its fuel tanks and single Raptor engine. This configuration differs greatly from the final design of the vehicle, which uses six Raptor engines, with a directional control flap and a nozzle at the top. Noscon will serve mission-specific purposes, and SpaceX wants to use it for team and unpacked tasks.

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On this front, Elon Musk, the company’s chief executive and chief engineer, unveiled key details for the SN8 prototype of the spacecraft. Contrary to the name, this is not the eighth test article created by SpaceX because the company changed its name to prototypes late last year.

Musk said the SN8 test vehicle will feature both noscon and folds. Most importantly, it was the first starship prototype to use three engines for testing. Also, if SpaceX’s plans are to be followed for sure, the SN8 will be subject to the highest starship height hop to date.

However, instead of the 12-mile (63,000 ft) elevation that the company specializes in Filed with an FCC, The upcoming test will target 9 miles (50,000 feet). In addition, the forward folds of the vehicle will also be driven by electric motors instead of hydraulic system, which will fulfill another important design purpose. It also removes some hazardous chemicals that require hydraulics.

The Starship SN8 will initially fly at an altitude of 50,000 feet, lower than previous estimates

Prior to the award, NASA approved SpaceX’s plans to use Starship as a human lunar lander. Musk also expressed his confidence in the company’s ability to build a vehicle for the space agency. Addresses Tuesday 2020 Summit for Man Earlier this month, the administrator said:

“We know how to create a complex life support system that can handle a wide range of environments. You know how to change atmospheric pressure, how to change the percentage of oxygen / nitrogen in the air. Musk said. “For a long mission like Mars, you want to have a more up-to-date system than we have on the Crew Dragon [SpaceX’s spacecraft for missions to the International Space Station], You want to recycle things, you know, recycle a lot of water, a lot of oxygen. But, yes I go to the moon, no problem. “

The lower height represents the set of new hops in the first step, which tests the endurance at higher altitudes and speeds. In addition, Musk revealed that this will help SpaceX test the newly added body folds and fuel systems of the vehicle.

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In addition to Starship, the national team (consisting of four companies) and Dynatics Inc. are the companies selected by NASA for the lunar lander. National team consisting of Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Groman and Dropper Laboratory Given its prototype To NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Texas. Dynamics shared its details HLS prototype Earlier this month. The company revealed how it is testing the compatibility of the vehicle’s crew with the help of astronaut Colonel Lee Archambold. Archambolt spent 26 days in space and flew two spacecraft, one of which (SDS-119) he commanded in 2009.

For the hop to be successful, SpaceX would have destroyed an important step in its testing for the HLS project. However, key parameters such as landing the vehicle on the lunar surface, propulsion and refueling systems must be verified by NASA before the vehicle can be certified for travel. SpaceX has promised NASA to test the starship upper echelon with the Falcon Heavy in 2022, and tests will determine the company’s reliance on the starship.

Phil Schwartz

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