SpaceX SN8 Starship Prototype Will Make the First High Altitude Starship Test Flight

Elon Musk tweeted that the eighth SpaceX Starship prototype will have a nosecone and flaps for a first high altitude test flight. It will fly to 60,000 feet (over ten miles high.)

Brendan Lewis has a diagram of the SN8 Starship.

SOURCES- Brendan Lewis, Elon Musk Twitter
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com

61 thoughts on “SpaceX SN8 Starship Prototype Will Make the First High Altitude Starship Test Flight”

  1. Basic human culture is timeless and certainly not illusory. Humans interact in 3 concrete ways: cooperation, competition, conflict. That hasn't changed since homo sapiens first evolved. You are right that those humans that are successful pass on those genes to the next generation.

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  2. The competition is at the gene level. Any other type of competition is an illusion. In geographic time, culture exist for the blink of an eye. Most cultures are recent hybrids. You can tell by the fact the business suit is ubiquitous and so are bras and panties.

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  3. More like IQ and access to quality education and good food have a interesting correlation. Have they reach a point where they can measure IQ without using a screen or paper?

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  4. I imagine the only thing China actually fears about the Starship is that, by lowering launch costs for the US, it makes eventual Chinese domination of space less likely.

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  5. I may not be a monkey's uncle, but if you get a xth cousin y times removed, you can go as far as you want. BTW, the favorite BD card in (pick your victim) is "Happy BD Uncle Dad!".

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  6. I read that the Neanderthal DNA that has been conserved is mostly related to our immune systems. Lots of new bugs in the big new world for the former sub Saharans.

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  7. Your comment looks like jumbled collection of random – but highly "dramatic" – concepts to me…. What child abuse? What system? Why would anyone go psycho? And what species has been around for 7 million years….?

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  8. Didn't the USSR used to fear the shuttle as a one orbit bomber that could take out Moscow in a first strike, because all their analysis said it was precisely the wrong design for the stated objectives?

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  9. I don't actually think the proposal offers significant advantages over existing missile tech.

    But I was objecting to the argument that it can't work because we don't know how to send an object from orbit to landing on the ground. Because we clearly do and have done so for several decades.

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  10. So, I will give you the next step in understanding. You will probably flee in terror, but here it is: The system lives by and needs child abuse, particularly baby abuse, to survive. The abuse must be so severe that it causes repression in an organism that has been evolving a big brain to do so without going psycho for 7 million years. Do or die. THAT repressive System, which, once understood, must be destroyed.

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  11. You are correct, but looking too closely. Even Neandert(h)al differ mostly by epigenetic, rather than *simple* DNA, variation. The inbreeding is as compared to other healthy animals, like cats overall, for instance. for 7 million years, our evolution has been driven by our repressive System. All differences are due to that, let alone big things like fur, big brain, weakness. . ., all only understood by co evolution with the System, self domestication, mental illness.

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  12. China fears SpaceX???? Can you link me an article where a Chinese government official makes any such argument?

    China is a totalitarian dictatorship that represses not only its own people but actively threatens its neighbors. Like all such states, it fears democracy above all else. The Chinese don't care about an orbital bomber. They've got tons of military hardware, i.e. a capable army, navy, air force and a credible nuclear deterrent. The idea that Starship is going to somehow tip the balance it the US's favor is not supported by the facts. Besides, the Chinese wouldn't have to fear anyone if they weren't actively seeking to build a new empire.

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  13. The notion of "self domestication" comes in here, but could be a response to others. The notion of "group selection" which seems to be a sort of "eugenic" or "socio-biology" line of thought, as well as sex selection, both are heavily impacted in humans ONLY, by our System. What I am describing only has starts in Chimp/Bonobo, and has been driven to failure for seven million years. Of our evolution, esp brain size (you brought it up!). Think of the System as the only non DNA life form in existence. Lives by eating our *souls*. Heavy, dude.

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  14. To what repressive system are you referring?

    All organisms, not just humans, are biased and seek to dominate. It's part of the natural biological and instinctive drive/desire to survive. All organisms show a bias towards their own survival and that of their offspring. All organisms seek to dominate whether it be their own kind in competition for food, mates, etc., or other species as a food source, in competition for habitat space, etc. There's nothing neurotic about it. It's simple Id and ego stuff. Evolution at its finest.

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  15. We did not stem from Bantu Africans, we came from Khoi San Africans, which the Bantu almost wiped out during the Bantu migrations of 1000-4000 years ago. The Bantu mated with archaic humans, they have like ~17% “Unidentified DNA”. Non sub Saharan Africans mated with archaic humans also, hence our 2-4% Neanderthal DNA.

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  16. Concrete examples? Lol China. I take it you’re more of a stem professional than a political policy one? Government policy doesn’t need that much data to act on threats.

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  17. I consider O'Neill and Criswell LSP of utmost importance exoterically, as well as both being highly counter intuitive. (That means you have to read the docs). I've been doing O'Neill for 40+ years, and don't intend to stop now that O'Neill is becoming the clearly superior path to most, even if they don't know O'Neill accurately, or by name. Just saw a bunch of planetarian stuff before my TV broke down, Life 2.0 on PBS. It let a little O'Neill slip thru! My major effort is to the infinitely important, esoteric, Primal Revolution, which informs my above comment. Thanx for reading, that is the important part, not the conclusion, which is rarely final.

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  18. Two implementations: The launch when needed implementation probably is better off with an ICBM, except for the little fact that launching an ICBM unnerves other nuclear powers.

    But if you're going to pre-position them in orbit, the Starship might make more sense.

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  19. It is worse than that. Normal biases become the base for power/domination *ideas*, such as "race", that are addictive, to repressed neurotics. Uniquely human BTW, as no other species is yet capable of maintaining such a repressive System as we have now.

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  20. Sounds like you are referring to "Mitochondrial Eve" and "Y Chromosomal Adam", although the timing is different. Definitely agree with you on "race illusion". According to the scientific evidence, it doesn't exist. Unfortunately biases are alive and well in the human Id.

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  21. I used to hang with population biologists, entomology mostly, but am not myself in any way trained in this area, at all! So, my understanding is that most healthy *groups* of animals have near relatives, even tho separate species. Many kinds of cat, even elephant. We, however, killed off all such relatives about 70-50,000 years ago, a mere instant in normal evolutionary time. And, *we* were down to a few thousand that ended up surviving, all others gone to stay. The distinctions we see between *races* is a total illusion, as it is largely a result of self domestication. OUCH! Which is what the repression System has brought us to. So, enjoy hybrid vigor by mating with exotic people.

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  22. Elon's trying to get to Mars in the name of science and humanity, but OrangeBug/DICANOMI thinks it a secret US plot to develop an orbital bomber so we can take over the world.

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  23. We already have the B-2 bomber and the B-21 is in development. Not to mention ICBMs and ballistic missile subs. The normal triad of nuke deterence.

    What nations fear this? Can you provide any concrete examples?

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  24. If I remember, the deep cold O led to *the* freak pad explosion when it hit a flawed C wrap tank and some of it froze in the flaw. Don't quote me on that.

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  25. Typically first stage wants O2 forward for aerodynamic stability. Puts Center of Mass forward of Center of Pressure. Second stage wants O2 aft. Less structural load forward, plus shorter feed lines (pogo). But those are just rules of thumb.

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  26. Pretty sure the methane is deep cryogenic, which would put it closer to the oxygen boiling point. Not sure if the oxygen is deep too, but may be. If methane is, but oxygen isn't, the temp difference is smaller, so need less insulation between the tanks (plus the methane tank is smaller and lighter).

    Getting the oxygen deep cryo may give more gains from the tank size, but it would be more difficult to do. It's already pretty cold.

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  27. Ah yes, the 'Rods from God' of Reagan's Star Wars initiative. But you could do that with any existing ICBM , you don't need a Musk Bomber. We've had MIRVs (Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicles) with their own warheads for literally decades.

    How useful they would be depends on CEP (Circular Error Probable), i.e. how close do they land to the target half the time. If you need to land within a single meter to take out a tank for example, and your CEP is 10 meters, you quickly find why explosives with blast effects are superior.

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  28. "But it's deep criogenic, so the density and volume ratio may be a little off." I just realized that the ONLY reason to do *extra* cold is to make the tank smaller. The O does not get lighter, or better. So the volume difference must be substantial or it would not be worth it. An indication of O on top.

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  29. Top heavy is more stable only if the engines aren't firing. Without thrust you only have inertia and drag, top heavy means the center of mass is in front of the center of drag, so you get stability due to head on being the lowest drag configuration.

    If you're accelerating, with engines at the back, the center of mass is in front of the center of net thrust, so instability is guaranteed, like a yardstick balanced on a bearing. The rocket "wants" to fall over.

    At that point you want to maximize your control envelope, and putting as much weight up front does that.

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  30. I'm certainly not an expert on aerodynamics, but intuitively, I'd expect front-heavy to be more stable from the aerodynamic point of view. Consider what happens when the rocket turns slightly off-axis. The aerodynamic forces should have more effect on the lighter portion (less mass => more acceleration). If the rocket is rear-heavy, the front part will be pushed further off-axis. A destcructive positive feedback. But if it's front-heavy, the rear will get pushed towards the axis. A restorative negative feedback.

    Of course, there may be other aerodynamic and non-aerodynamic factors that change the picture.

    From a control point of view, I agree that front-heavy (with the controls at the back) is more responsive, aka more sensitive, aka less stable in that sense.

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  31. "so the oxygen tank will be about 30% larger by volume." That is the LabPadre line of thought, as the top tank seems smaller. And I'm used to seeing H, not C, rockets, where the small heavy O is always on top, for the "balance a stick" reason.

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  32. Top heavy is more unstable, but also more responsive to control inputs. Easier to slew the bottom around if it's lighter.

    Since you can't reach absolute stability anyway, (Short of engines on top, the original Goddard configuration.) may as well go for responsive.

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  33. The Raptors' mixture ratio is 3.55, meaning the oxygen mass is 3.55 times that of the methane (running fuel rich; the stoichiometric ratio for complete burn is 4). Liquid oxygen is ~2.7 times denser than liquid methane, so the oxygen tank will be about 30% larger by volume. That should give you a clue if you can find an official up-to-date layout. But it's deep criogenic, so the density and volume ratio may be a little off.

    Intuitively, my first instinct is to put the heavier oxygen on the bottom. But on 2nd thought, front-heavy is probably more dynamically stable during flight than rear-heavy. More difficult for the air to deflect a heavier nose, and the lighter rear gets pushed in-line by the airflow. Also seems easier to maneuver: the engines need to deflect a lighter rear. Finally, there might be some advantage to putting the fuel closer to the engines…

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  34. Why is there no BLM logo on starship? Is Elon Musk a white supremacist? As a white male, he is unless proven otherwise! Being of African origin does not matter.

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  35. You've disproved the extremely simplistic case of a bomber in orbit just releasing a bomb.

    Now try for a more realistic case where the bomb is released with either a launch velocity relative to the bomber, or a rocket motor to let it shift from an orbital trajectory to one that intersects the Earth.

    I don't think anyone was seriously thinking of just "dropping" a bomb from a spaceship, regardless of what we saw in Star Wars.

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  36. As for sat weapons, why do you think they launched a X-37B copy? Attach a magnetic drill to the arm, fly to satellite capture with magnet and drill. Move to next target.

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  37. US has already considered kinetic orbital bombardment as an option, in the 60s/70s. It was not cost effective then. Given the cost of stealth and the capability of the S-400, its the cheapest option for bombardment of a non-nuclear nation. Assuming a 10 million per launch and 500 million per Starship Heavy build cost, its vastly cheaper and less defendable against than any current system. Look up Rods from God and Project Thor.

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  38. Yes, so every nation Russia sells a S-400 can't reciprocate. It extends power in regional conflict for less money, while negating current AA systems. Even Russia is smart enough not to ever sell any AA system than can shoot down a sat at 300km+ orbit.

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  39. "One step closer to a functional orbital bomber. Why do you think that Space Force and the USAF are acting coy on this? And then, why is China suddenly changing it's nuclear strategy? Notions fear the creation of this. You can drop a chunk of metal at hypersonic speeds that is more destructive than a conventional bomb of equal size,"

    That is movie fiction. orbital mechanics doesn't work that way. IF you released a metal rod from the starship or space shuttle the metal rod would stay in orbit. Want proof watch the video from shuttle missions to make the space station. The shuttle simply lifted the first section of the cpace station out o the cargo bay with the robotic arm and then released it. It is still up there years later.

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  40. I did find a German version of the standard unlabelled dia, and clearly C on bottom, as all rockets are! Another gave the mass, and the O was greater by far. LabPadre people say that O on bottom, based upon scant evidence dia of fuels' volume. They have no definitive things to show, but the dias are old, so, that is why I ask.

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  41. Well, it's hardly definitive, but I have noticed in the hopper tests that there was gas venting near the top, and quite low on the hopper, and at engine ignition the lower venting gas clearly caught fire. Which O2 obviously wouldn't do.

    So that's one data point for O2 on top.

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  42. I'm not convinced Starship is such a direct threat for foreign powers per se.

    I mean, if you want to use one to send a nuke or a big conventional bomb, make sure your enemy doesn't have nukes and ICBMs to respond proportionally.

    So, it would really be a threat to countries that can't reciprocate.

    The potential threat are rather its collateral benefits: space logistics like Starlink, a lot more payload to orbit for less money, fast P2P transport of goods and people and potentially advanced space weapons (non nuclear, conventional ones).

    That's what China and others will be responding to, with more anti-satellite weapons and the risk of nasty Kessler syndrome that ruins space for everyone for years or even decades to come, and of course, nuclear escalation here on Earth, which is always on the table.

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  43. Well, it's not a coincidence that a US company develops 100% reusable launch system, and the US creates a Space Force.

    I'd imagine Musk would like to sell a fleet of these in a milspec configuration.

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  44. One step closer to a functional orbital bomber. Why do you think that Space Force and the USAF are acting coy on this? And then, why is China suddenly changing it's nuclear strategy? Notions fear the creation of this. You can drop a chunk of metal at hypersonic speeds that is more destructive than a conventional bomb of equal size, and it can go to orbits that make it virtually un-targetable with just basic countermeasures. If SpaceX gets within 50% of the estimated cost per launch and re-usability, its less than the cost of two long range B-2 or B-21 (estimated by a factor of 5-10 times), for the same power and versus air craft carriers its a 20x cost advantage and much shorter strike times at 40 min or less worldwide, maybe 2-3 hours if you need to fuel and add the top stage Starship (Carrier based about 1 hour, Tomahawk about 2 hours, and B-2/21 2-14 hours to target). At 10 million per launch and lets say 500 mil per Starship Heavy set, with 100-150 ton payloads, it should scare everyone.

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  45. There is rampant confusion about whether the O tank is on top, or bottom of the main two tanks. Any body know for certain? I find one old dia with O on top, but most disagree with me.

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