SpaceX, led by Elon Musk, got the green light from the US Federal Aviation Administration to send its new Starship and large rocket on its second test flight from Texas.
The launch is set for Friday with a two-hour window starting at 7 am Central Time (6:30 pm IST). The locals might hear a “loud noise” as the rocket heads up into space, warns SpaceX.
Walter Isaacson, the author of Elon Musk’s biography, mentioned, “Starship is the most powerful rocket ever produced. It’s designed to carry one hundred people to Mars. It just received approvals and is scheduled to launch this Friday at 8 am ET.” The launch is taking place from Starbase, a SpaceX site in South Texas.
The launch process of SpaceX’s Starship
Ten seconds before liftoff, SpaceX will turn on a water spray system under the orbital launch mount at Starbase.
This special equipment, a strong steel plate that sprays water, is there to lessen the force of Super Heavy’s 33 Raptors. Its job is to shield the launch mount and the nearby structures, as reported by Space.com.
Starship stacked for flight. This is another chance to put Starship in a true flight environment, maximizing how much we learn.
Rapid iterative development is essential as we work to build a fully reusable launch system capable of carrying satellites, payloads, crew, and cargo… pic.twitter.com/Gkx7lKYVuz
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 16, 2023
The strong power of this setup could be seen during Starship’s first test flight on April 20th. The Raptors on Super Heavy created a huge hole under the launch mount, tossing bits of concrete and other debris high up into the South Texas sky, according to Space.com.
On April 20th, the plan was to launch the upper stage of Starship partway around Earth and then have it splash down in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii. However, things didn’t go as planned. The two stages of Starship didn’t separate properly, so SpaceX intentionally blew up the vehicle four minutes after liftoff.
The goal of the November 17th flight is the same as the last one
The goals for Friday’s flight are similar to the ones of April 20th. If everything goes as planned, the two stages of Starship will separate about two minutes and forty-one seconds after liftoff.
They are using a technique called “hot staging,” whereby the upper stage engines start firing just prior to separation. This is different from the first launch, which used a more traditional staging approach.
Following that, Super Heavy will do a series of engine burns in the next few minutes, guiding itself toward a splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico about seven minutes after liftoff, as reported by Space.com.
As for the Starship upper stage, it will keep heading up and east, going quite fast—almost as fast as things need to go to stay in orbit, which is about 17,000 mph or 27,400 kph.
However, it won’t make a full trip around Earth. About ninety minutes after liftoff, it is set to make a cool landing in the Pacific near Hawaii, according to SpaceX’s mission description.