SpaceX Fixing Starship to Reach Rapid Reusability

SpaceX will try to launch on June 5, 2024 if they get FAA approval. Elon and SpaceX are communicating the June 5th date as if the FAA is close to giving the launch license.

Here is what has been learned and fixed after the third flight.

Super Heavy Booster:
• Second successful ascent.
• Initiated boostback burn; 13 engines started successfully, but six shut down early due to filter blockage.
• Attempted landing burn with only seven engines starting; contact lost at 462 meters altitude.

Identified issue: Filter blockage in liquid oxygen supply.
• Fix: Adding hardware in oxygen tanks for better filtration which will increase startup reliability of Raptor engines.

Starship’s Coast Phase
• Flight 3: First test of payload door in space, successful propellant transfer demonstration with two tanks in the same Starship.
• Loss of attitude control led to skipping planned on-orbit relight.
• First reentry from space; valuable data collected despite high heating and loss of telemetry at 65 kilometers altitude.

Investigations and Improvements
• Root cause: Clogging of roll control valves.
• Added roll control thrusters and upgraded hardware for future flights.
• Oversight by FAA, NASA, and NTSB; no public safety impact found.

Future Plans
• Next launch (Flight 4) to incorporate hardware and software improvements.
• Focus on demonstrating the ability to return and reuse Starship and Super Heavy.

A live webcast of the flight test will begin about 30 minutes before liftoff, which you can watch here and on X @SpaceX. The launch window will open as early as 7 a.m. CT. As is the case with all developmental testing, the schedule is dynamic and likely to change, so be sure to stay tuned to our X account for updates.

Starship’s third flight test made tremendous strides towards a future of rapidly reliable reusable rockets. The test completed several exciting firsts, including the first Starship reentry from space, the first ever opening and closing of Starship’s payload door in space, and a successful propellant transfer demonstration. This last test provided valuable data for eventual ship-to-ship propellant transfers that will enable missions like returning astronauts to the Moon under NASA’s Artemis program.

3 thoughts on “SpaceX Fixing Starship to Reach Rapid Reusability”

  1. IMHO, SpaceX should rethink the booster landing sequence by incorporating AI to monitor engine performance and adopt a new strategy to fire additional engines for the landing burn. This would create a fault tolerant paradigm that can handle unexpected failure modes…..

    • I mean it is a completely tractable problem for traditional software to solve but for marketing’s sake lets sprinkle in some AI.

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