Saturday, November 18 (November 27) is going to be an exciting day for space fans. After the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) finally gave permission for the second Starship test launch, SpaceX is now planning to launch its giant rocket on Saturday from the Starbase facility in South Texas.
Starship’s takeoff was initially planned during a two-hour window that will open tomorrow Friday at 16:30 Iran time. But Elon Musk, a few minutes ago He announced on X (former Twitter). that due to the replacement of the grid fin operator, the launch has been postponed to Saturday; But he did not provide an exact time. You Zoomit users can watch the live broadcast of this event on this page.
But what should we expect on Saturday? If the launch window remains unchanged, SpaceX will broadcast its webcast from 16:00 Iran time will begin. Approximately 10 minutes later, the 39 Raptor rocket engines, including 33 Superheavy engines as the first stage and 6 spacecraft engines of the upper stage or starship, will begin to cool down before ignition.
Ten seconds before launch, SpaceX will activate the water launch system located below the Starbase orbital launch pad. A water-reinforced steel plate designed to reduce the power of the Super Heavy Raptor’s 33 engines, it will protect the launch pad and surrounding infrastructure.
The enormous power of Superheavy engines was fully displayed during the first and only test flight of Starship, which was carried out on April 31 of this year. The Super Heavy Raptors dug a hole under the launch pad that day and threw chunks of concrete and other debris into the Texas sky.
The purpose of the flight earlier this year was to send the Starship, or the upper stage of the rocket, into orbit with the aim of a water landing near Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean. But unfortunately this did not happen. In mid-air, the two stages of the Starship failed to separate as planned, and SpaceX intentionally blew up the rocket four minutes after liftoff. Saturday’s flight has the same primary goals as the previous flight.
If all goes according to plan, the two Starship stages will separate two minutes and 41 seconds after liftoff. The separation process is done by “hot phasing”; In this way, the motors of the upper stage will be turned on shortly before the separation of the stages. Hot phasing is a significant change compared to the traditional phasing strategy used in the past.
After successfully separating the stages, the Super Heavy will perform several burns and approximately seven minutes after liftoff, it will direct itself towards this area with the goal of a water landing in the Gulf of Mexico.
Meanwhile, the starship will continue to move upward and eastward, reaching a maximum speed close to orbital speed (27,400 km/h). However, the rocket does not orbit the Earth completely. The SpaceX mission description states that approximately 90 minutes after liftoff, we should expect an “exciting landing” near Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean.
Both stages of the starship are designed to be fully and quickly reusable; But the upcoming flight will be the only mission of two missiles in particular, and it is not possible to use them in the future. The Starship and Super Heavy used in Saturday’s mission will land directly in the sea, unlike the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rocket stages.
Whatever happens on Saturday, whether it’s a complete success, a complete failure, or more likely something in between, we can expect the next Starship flight in the not-too-distant future. SpaceX is already working on several versions of the Starship rocket and plans to learn important lessons from their flight.
SpaceX is ready in its mission statement: “The rapid, iterative manufacturing approach has been the foundation of all of SpaceX’s innovative developments, including Dragon, Falcon and Starlink. Iterative improvement is essential; Because we are trying to build a fully reusable transportation system that will be able to carry crew and cargo to Earth orbit, help humans return to the moon, and finally travel to Mars and beyond.”