SpaceX has been enjoying a hot streak in recent weeks, and it seems that the future looks good. The company has recently tested its first crew capsule, the Dragon Capsule, which managed to reach the International Space Station without incidents. Now, Elon Musk’s company tested the heat shields of Starship, as part of a battery of tests before the test launch that will take place soon.
SpaceX Starship passed the heat shields tests but scored less than NASA’s Space Shuttle heat shield
Those tests play a vital role since any failure could lead to a delay, which could hold back the progress of the SpaceX Starship project in the long run. One of the key components which were recently tested was the heat shields’ tiles which will keep the ship cool when reentering Earth’s atmosphere.
Elon Musk has shared a short video which showcases a set of heat shield tiles. A series of high-power burners emit hot flame jets that hit the middle of the tiles. The tiles reached a temperature of 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit (1,375 degrees Celsius or 1650 degrees Kelvin). The SpaceX Starship heat shields should be able to withstand the extreme temperatures which are faced when a spacecraft returns to Earth. While the values reached during the tests are impressive, the heat shield used by NASA for the Space Shuttle was a bit stronger.
The first test flight for SpaceX Starship would take place soon, according to some sources
Some sources noted that the Raptor rocket engine, which will be used by the SpaceX Starship, has been seen in Boca Chica, Texas, a location where Elon Musk’s company is currently testing many of the components which will be used in the future.
Pictures of the Raptor engine appeared on a popular platform during the weekend. The engine was mounted on a prototype spacecraft know under the nickname of Starhopper. If everything goes according to plan, the prototype will be tested in the following weeks. At first, the engine will undergo a static fire test at first, with the spacecraft being anchored.
The Starship will be carried into space by the Super Heavy rocket. The rocket is still in development, and it will use a high number of Raptor engines, with the maximum limit being 31. The first commercial flights should take place in 2023.