Thursday, March 14, 2024

SpaceX Starship Re-enters Earth's Atmosphere: Hot Plasma Field

SpaceX Starship Re-enters Earth's Atmosphere: Hot Plasma Field

Elon Musk: "Watch the super hot plasma field grow as Starship re-enters the atmosphere!"

The Starship upper stage experienced an unknown problem during re-entry, approximately 50 minutes after being launched by a Super Heavy rocket booster from Starbase in Texas, on March 14, 2024, at 8:25am Central Time, for its third flight test. 

"Starship is essential to both SpaceX’s plans to deploy its next-generation Starship system as well as for NASA, which will use a lunar lander version of Starship for landing astronauts on the moon during the Artemis III mission through the Human Landing System (HLS) program."

Key Starship Parameters:

Height: 121m/397ft

Diameter: 9m/29.5ft

Payload to LEO: 100 – 150t (fully reusable)

Satellites: "Starship is designed to deliver satellites further and at a lower marginal cost per launch than our current Falcon vehicles. With a payload compartment larger than any fairing currently in operation or development, Starship creates possibilities for new missions, including space telescopes even larger than the James Webb."

Super Heavy is the first stage, or booster, of the Starship launch system. Powered by 33 Raptor engines using sub-cooled liquid methane (CH4) and liquid oxygen (LOX), Super Heavy is fully reusable and will re-enter Earth’s atmosphere to land back at the launch site.

Starship's Engines: Raptors

"The Raptor engine is a reusable methalox staged-combustion engine that powers the Starship launch system. Raptor engines began flight testing on the Starship prototype rockets in July 2019, becoming the first full-flow staged combustion rocket engine ever flown."

Raptor Engine Parameters:

Diameter: 1.3m/4ft

Height: 3.1m/10.2ft

Thrust: 230tf/500 klbf

Download the Free Starship User Guide (PDF):

Credit: SpaceX

Acknowledgement: SciNews

Duration: 2 minutes, 56 seconds

Release Date: March 14, 2024

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