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posted by Fnord666 on Friday July 26 2019, @04:56PM   Printer-friendly
from the Elon-wishes-to-be-called-StarLord dept.

SpaceX Falcon 9 booster nails landing in lead-up to next NASA-sponsored reuse milestone

SpaceX has nailed its 24th Falcon booster reuse and 44th Falcon booster landing with Falcon 9 B1056's flawless Landing Zone-1 recovery, setting the booster up to become the first SpaceX rocket NASA has flown on three times.

According to, NASA had already moved from a conservative "maybe" to a much firmer "yes, but..." on the second-reuse question, pending – of course – the successful completion of B1056's second launch and landing. As of now, the Block 5 booster has indeed successfully completed its second orbital-class mission, setting itself up for a milestone NASA reuse that could happen as early as December 2019 on CRS-19, Dragon 1's second-to-last planned International Space Station (ISS) resupply mission.

SpaceX's Starhopper nails first untethered flight as CEO Elon Musk teases next test

Starhopper has completed its first untethered flight ever, simultaneously a small step for the awkward prototype and a giant leap for SpaceX's Starship/Super Heavy program as the next-gen launch vehicle is carried into a new phase: flight testing.

Despite the spectacular and reportedly successful hover and divert test, Starhopper's powerful Raptor engine appears to have started a significant fire, placing SpaceX's Starhopper pad in a precarious position per the fire's apparent adjacency to full liquid oxygen tanks. Ironically, despite Starhopper's seeming predilection as of late towards catching itself on fire, the large rocket testbed appears to be entirely unscorched as a brush fire burns around a few hundred feet distant.

[...] According to Elon Musk, the SpaceX CEO will present an update on the company's progress designing, building, and testing Starship and Super Heavy soon after Starhopper's first successful flight, meaning it could potentially happen within the next week or two. Additionally, Musk deemed Starhopper's July 25th flight a success and indicated that SpaceX would attempt to put Starhopper through a more ambitious 200m (650 ft) hop in a week or two, continuing what is expected to be an increasingly arduous serious of tests for the prototype.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk posts uncut Raptor, drone videos of Starhopper's flight test debut

Some two hours after Starhopper's inaugural untethered flight, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter to post an uncut video showing the ungainly rocket's launch and landing from the perspective of both a drone and Starhopper's lone Raptor engine.

As noted by commenters, Starhopper's first flight also marks perhaps an even more fascinating milestone: it's technically the first launch ever of a full-flow staged-combustion (FFSC) rocket engine. Whether or not the development hell Raptor required is or was worth it to SpaceX, the company has become the first and only entity on Earth to develop and fly a FFSC engine, beating out the national space agencies of both the United States and Soviet Union, both of which built – but never flew – prototypes.

Everyday Astronaut footage (starting at 4:40:19).

Also at Ars Technica.

Previously: SpaceX's Starship Will Now be Made of Stainless Steel, With Tests Still Scheduled for Early 2019
Elon Musk: Why I'm Building the Starship Out of Stainless Steel
In New Starship Details, Musk Reveals a More Practical Approach
Elon Musk Posts Starship Raptor Rocket Engine Test
Elon Musk Shows off Fiery SpaceX Starship Heatshield Test
SpaceX Targeting 2021 for First Starship Commercial Launch
SpaceX's Starhopper Prototype to Make First Untethered Hop Soon
SpaceX Starhopper Raptor Engine Fireball on Pad Erupts

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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by takyon on Friday July 26 2019, @08:24PM (5 children)

    by takyon (881) <> on Friday July 26 2019, @08:24PM (#871609) Journal

    We're gonna see a lot more flames during this test program. Like that scary fireball on July 16.

    And later, Super Heavy will put out about 2x the thrust of Saturn V.

    [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 []
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  • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Friday July 26 2019, @08:34PM (4 children)

    by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Friday July 26 2019, @08:34PM (#871616) Journal

    Maybe SLS should get in on the fireball action.

    The lower I set my standards the more accomplishments I have.
    • (Score: 3, Funny) by takyon on Friday July 26 2019, @08:41PM

      by takyon (881) <> on Friday July 26 2019, @08:41PM (#871618) Journal

      Yes please. Pulled pork.

      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 []
    • (Score: 2) by MostCynical on Saturday July 27 2019, @02:58AM (2 children)

      by MostCynical (2589) on Saturday July 27 2019, @02:58AM (#871733) Journal

      Is SLS even at a similar test phase?

      "I guess once you start doubting, there's no end to it." -Batou, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
      • (Score: 2) by takyon on Saturday July 27 2019, @04:09AM (1 child)

        by takyon (881) <> on Saturday July 27 2019, @04:09AM (#871754) Journal

        Isn't SLS supposed to Just Work™, because it's made of old Space Shuttle parts? That's why we can send humans on it on the second flight. They totally won't die.

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        • (Score: 2) by MostCynical on Saturday July 27 2019, @04:29AM

          by MostCynical (2589) on Saturday July 27 2019, @04:29AM (#871763) Journal

          NASA doesn't have the monopoly on large explosions.

          The Russians [] have been at it for years.

          No reason private enterprise shouldn't get in on the act! []

          "I guess once you start doubting, there's no end to it." -Batou, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex