SpaceX Starship Engine Passes Key Test for Artemis 3 Moon Landing Mission (Video)

By | September 17, 2023

SpaceX fired its powerful Starship engines in cold, Moon-like conditions to prepare for the human moon landing in a few years.

SpaceXwhich has the task of carrying the Artemis 3 crew on the surface of the moon with Starship in 2025 or 2026, concluded a successful “cold engine” start in August, NASA officials he wrote in a blog post Thursday (September 14). The test aimed to demonstrate that the company’s Raptor engine can restart space after leaving Earthto safely transport astronauts to the lunar surface.

SpaceX also released a videos about X (formerly Twitter) showing a cold, smoking Raptor firing for about three seconds NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama.

Related: FAA closes investigation into SpaceX Starship rocket launch accident, 63 fixes needed

a long orange tail extends from a rocket engine during a test.

a long orange tail extends from a rocket engine during a test.

Spaceship it is the next generation system that SpaceX intends to use for deep space missions. The spaceship has not yet reached space. In April, SpaceX launched a fully loaded Starship for the first time, the largest and most powerful rocket ever built. But the system suffered from several serious problems. The spaceship went out of control, was detonated remotely, and caused a shower of debris in the surrounding area.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) oversaw a SpaceX-led investigation into the launch accident. On September 8, the agency announced the conclusion of that investigation, which identified 63 corrective actions for the Hawthorne, California-based company. Two days later, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said the company has completed all 57 fixes necessary for an imminent second launch, while the remaining remedies will be necessary only for future flights.

Musk has suggested that Starship could resurface very quickly, while recent comments from the FAA suggest that SpaceX could get a license for a new Starship launch attempt in October. Meanwhile, SpaceX and the FAA are trying to dismiss a lawsuit by environmental groups filed after Starship’s launch in April.

As for the Raptor engine test, NASA officials said its success gives the agency greater confidence that SpaceX is progressing toward its obligations on Artemis 3. “These tests provide early, mission-like validation of the systems needed to transport astronauts to and from the lunar surface,” agency officials explained. he wrote in the blog post. “Data reviews following these tests provide NASA with ever-increasing confidence in U.S. industry readiness for the mission.”

SpaceX also completed a milestone Raptor effort in November 2021, NASA wrote, demonstrating that the engine can fire for 281 seconds (4.5 minutes), the duration needed for the long descent to the moon. The Raptor also changed its power level during testing to meet the agency’s requirements. SpaceX footage released of that test also on Thursday.

As tests of Starship’s engine proceed, NASA Associate Administrator Jim Free notified in August that the agency is ready to launch Artemis 3 even if Starship isn’t ready for a Moon landing in 2025 or 2026, which is the mission’s current goal. (This followed comments Free made in June in which he spoke out “concern” for Starship meet a launch date in 2025.)

In the August 8 press conference at NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida, in the presence of, Free suggested that the agency could forgo the Moon landing for Artemis 3, if necessary, and carry out an alternative mission with a crew. In this scenario, the Starship would be used on a future mission (such as Artemis 4) for the first human lunar landing since then. Apollo 17 in 1972.

The agency is looking for several successful Starship launches before authorizing landing astronauts, among other milestones, Free said. (Indeed, NASA wrote in its blog post Thursday that the agency will observe the performance of the Raptor engines during Starship’s second launch attempt.)

Artemis 3 will be the third NASA-led mission Artemis program. NASA and a number of international partners are working together on planned missions Artemis chords. (The agreements are both a series of commitments for lunar exploration and an agreement to execute peaceful exploration rules in space with NASA. Not all signatories have committed to working directly on Artemis.)

Related: SpaceX Starship problems could delay Artemis 3’s moon mission until 2026, NASA says


— SpaceX Starship problems could delay Artemis 3 mission

— NASA transports the Artemis 2 mobile launch tower to the base for tests (photo)

— See the Artemis 3 landing site at the Moon’s south pole in new NASA photos

The first mission of the series, Artemis 1saw an unmanned NASA Orion spacecraft will orbit the Moon in late 2022 after being launched there aboard the agency Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. The next one will come Artemis 2which will send three NASA astronauts and one Canadian around the moon no earlier than November 2024, also using SLS and Orion.

SpaceX isn’t the only vendor tasked with putting humans on the Moon for NASA missions; in May 2023, a consortium also led by Blue Origin earned eligibility submit offers for missions subsequent to Artemis 4, following a competitive procedure.

SpaceX was initially selected as the only company eligible for Artemis 3 and Artemis 4 under a NASA Human Landing System (HLS) award from April 2021, which was the winner among three bids. The decision was considered a surprise by competitors, who expected that the agency would choose at least two landing systems (to have a backup option, which is a common agency practice).

The other two coalitions, led respectively by Blue Origin and Dynetics, they issued protests to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) which were later overturned. Also Blue Origin filed a lawsuit. Amid the legal issues, the SpaceX contract did not move forward for several months.

While NASA was ultimately allowed to move forward with the contract with SpaceX, in September 2021 the Senate Appropriations Committee ordered NASA to choose a second company to build a manned Artemis lander. This began the new HLS bidding process won by Blue Origin.

Senate officials also noted that NASA’s HLS program was not underfunded, which the agency had cited as justification for proceeding with SpaceX alone. NASA’s budget of $24.83 billion for that fiscal year was slightly more than the $24.8 billion NASA requested, with most of the increase going to HLS.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *