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SpaceX plans to destroy the Starship prototype before flying the next prototype

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Elon Musk tweeted this scenic view of the aerial Starship SN5 prototype in August 2020. This was Starship’s biggest hop, as SpaceX aimed to reach 150 meters in the air with the power of a single Raptor engine.

Elon Musk / SpaceX

The SpaceX rocket development site in Bocachica, Texas, can be a dramatic few weeks. Eron Musk’s space company plans to deliberately destroy the next Starship prototype and move from short hops to real flight.

The spacecraft is the next generation rocket that SpaceX hopes to eventually send to Mars. A series of prototypes built in Bocachica over the last two years have either failed during the test or were part of the success of three control test “hops” at an altitude of about 500 feet (150 meters).

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NASASpaceflight reports that the latest prototype labeled SN7.1 is basically a large test tank. This week, a series of tests are done and fail until finally pressure is applied. Like its predecessor, who literally jumped over the top, it will probably fail in a grand way.

SpaceX is testing tonight in Bocachica, Texas, using the Starship SN 7.1 test tank.

The exact details of the test have not been confirmed, but probably not so many. The pressure on failure testing will probably occur towards the end of the weekend. https: //t.co/CISBVb9XeH

Michael Baylor (@nextspaceflight) September 15, 2020

After the planned decommissioning of SN7.1, SpaceX will take Starship development to new heights.

Over the weekend, CEO Elon Musk tweeted that yet another prototype, the SN8, was nearly complete and ready for a series of tests. Hopefully, a proper flight will follow instead of a short hop.

“The SN8 Starship with flaps and nose cones will be completed in about a week. Then static shooting, checkout, static shooting, flying up to 60,000 feet.”

The SN8 Starship with flaps and nose cones will be completed in about a week. Then fly to static fire, checkout, static fire, 60,000 ft.

Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 12, 2020

It’s an easy journey back over 18 km (11 miles), but Elon Musk is always thinking of a farther future. On Monday, he said he hopes SpaceX will eventually get going during testing before passing several more Starship prototypes.

I’m just guessing, but probably in my mid-teens. Stacking with boosters and track pads is probably a limiting factor. Build a few ships just to improve your production system.

Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 15, 2020

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