Having successfully landed Starship SN15 after a launch, SpaceX is eyeing an orbital flight test of the spacecraft it plans to ferry spacefarers to the Moon with.
This is according to papers filed with the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) this week.
The filing reveals that SpaceX hopes to launch a Starship from its Starbase in Boca Chica, Texas, with the orbital stage of the rocket destined for somewhere north-west of Kauai.
“The Booster stage will separate approximately 170 seconds into flight. The Booster will then perform a partial return and land in the Gulf of Mexico approximately 20 miles from the shore. The Orbital Starship will continue on flying between the Florida Straits. It will achieve orbit until performing a powered, targeted landing approximately 100km (~62 miles) off the northwest coast of Kauai in a soft ocean landing,” SpaceX explained to the FCC.
This entire test should take 90 minutes from launch to splashdown off of the coast of Kauai.
This test is important as SpaceX needs to be able to quantify how the spacecraft re-enters the atmosphere and what forces it experiences. It seems SpaceX can’t simulate this test and as such it needs to send Starship skyward.
With NASA having set a target of 2024 to take astronauts to the Moon, this test will be a rather important one for SpaceX.
There’s no word yet on when this orbital test will take place but we’re keeping our eyes on the wires for news.
[Source – FCC]