SpaceX eyes March 14 for 3rd Starship test flight

May 22, 2023
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"Starship and Super Heavy are designed to be fully reusable." Yet, on neither of the first two test flights was it planned for Starship to be recovered. On this third flight, will Starship again be dropped uselessly into the sea? Will this again be just a suborbital flight, or will SpaceX attempt to put Starship into orbit?
 
Oct 30, 2021
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"Following that second test flight, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) identified 17 corrective actions for SpaceX to take before the next flight: 10 on Starship and seven on the Super Heavy booster."

Sorry, this is incorrect. SpaceX, not the FAA identified the 17 corrective actions and submitted them TO the FAA for review. The FAA then just last week approved the corrective actions.

This is good because since SpaceX identified the corrective actions, they have been working on them since the 2nd launch last November. That's why they are now ready to launch again pending an actual launch permit from the FAA, which sounds like it should be very soon based on the announced tentative launch date!

Regarding Jan Wolitzky's question, yes, again the plan is for the booster to be dropped into the Gulf and Starship will complete 1 orbit and then be dropped into the sea just off of Hawaii. At this point in the tests they might attempt to hover each just above the surface of the ocean to simulate actual landings.

They have the next 2 boosters and Starships nearly complete so the hope is the subsequent tests will increase in cadence.

Edit: It has been reported the FAA is very close indeed to approving the modified launch license for this 3rd flight.

Regarding the objectives for this 3rd flight, this is a post from SpaceX:

The third flight test aims to build on what we’ve learned from previous flights while attempting a number of ambitious objectives, including the successful ascent burn of both stages, opening and closing Starship’s payload door, a propellant transfer demonstration during the upper stage’s coast phase, the first ever re-light of a Raptor engine while in space, and a controlled reentry of Starship. It will also fly a new trajectory, with Starship targeted to splashdown in the Indian Ocean. This new flight path enables us to attempt new techniques like in-space engine burns while maximizing public safety.

Exciting times!
 
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May 22, 2023
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"Following that second test flight, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) identified 17 corrective actions for SpaceX to take before the next flight: 10 on Starship and seven on the Super Heavy booster."

Sorry, this is incorrect. SpaceX, not the FAA identified the 17 corrective actions and submitted them TO the FAA for review. The FAA then just last week approved the corrective actions.

This is good because since SpaceX identified the corrective actions, they have been working on them since the 2nd launch last November. That's why they are now ready to launch again pending an actual launch permit from the FAA, which sounds like it should be very soon based on the announced tentative launch date!

Regarding Jan Wolitzky's question, yes, again the plan is for the booster to be dropped into the Gulf and Starship will complete 1 orbit and then be dropped into the sea just off of Hawaii. At this point in the tests they might attempt to hover each just above the surface of the ocean to simulate actual landings.

They have the next 2 boosters and Starships nearly complete so the hope is the subsequent tests will increase in cadence.

Edit: It has been reported the FAA is very close indeed to approving the modified launch license for this 3rd flight.

Regarding the objectives for this 3rd flight, this is a post from SpaceX:

The third flight test aims to build on what we’ve learned from previous flights while attempting a number of ambitious objectives, including the successful ascent burn of both stages, opening and closing Starship’s payload door, a propellant transfer demonstration during the upper stage’s coast phase, the first ever re-light of a Raptor engine while in space, and a controlled reentry of Starship. It will also fly a new trajectory, with Starship targeted to splashdown in the Indian Ocean. This new flight path enables us to attempt new techniques like in-space engine burns while maximizing public safety.

Exciting times!
The trajectory you describe is ballistic, suborbital, not "complete 1 orbit". Starship will not fire retro rockets to deorbit. Anyway, Texas-to-Hawaii wouldn't be 1 complete orbit even if it did.
 
Jan, What point are you trying to make with your critical comments of SpaceX's flight plans?

I expect that SpaceX is better qualified to determine the appropriate flight and test parameters for each test launch than than you are. You seem to be trying to compare test launches with fully operational mission objectives. Nobody is expecting SpaceX to be launching fully operational vehicles this early in its development process - except maybe you.
 
May 22, 2023
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Just pointing out the huge gap between SpaceX's (and NASA's) hype about their plans for Starship to be landing astronauts on the moon in a couple of years (and Mars soon after), and the reality of Musk's toy. SpaceX never fails to describe Starship and its booster as "fully reusable", yet by the third test flight, that's still not in the plan. They were able to sell NASA on their vaporware, but I'm not buying it.
 
Oct 30, 2021
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Just pointing out the huge gap between SpaceX's (and NASA's) hype about their plans for Starship to be landing astronauts on the moon in a couple of years (and Mars soon after), and the reality of Musk's toy. SpaceX never fails to describe Starship and its booster as "fully reusable", yet by the third test flight, that's still not in the plan. They were able to sell NASA on their vaporware, but I'm not buying it.
Good grief.

Not sure even where to begin with your remarks. I'm guessing you've only just started following commercial-related space topics? It doesn't matter to you that were it not for SpaceX we'd still be 100% reliant on Roscosmos for ferrying astronauts to/from the space station? That SpaceX has been the primary cargo supplier to the ISS for several years now and the ONLY supplier who can bring experiments BACK to Earth since the days of the Space Shuttle?

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Unfortunately, NASA has not been able to keep anything like its own stated schedules for "returning to the Moon," with its own parts of the program, either.

Blaming SpaceX for failure to meet NASA schedules doesn't even have much credibility for the parts that NASA has designated for SpaceX to accomplish, considering that it only awarded the contracts with so little time left, and then has to contend with the FAA doling out individual launch permits after doing extensive reviews of everything that doesn't work perfectly on each previous launch. If we need to wait for NASA to create its own hardware for the Artemis lunar lander, how long do you think that would take? Even if they had started their own development process instead of awarding the SpaceX contract at the point it time that they awarded that contract?

I fully expect that the NASA Artemis program will eventually be morphed into a series of SpaceX contracts for commercial transport of cargo and crews on Starship, instead of the NASA SLS. The SLS is just not financially feasible for the level of effort envisioned by NASA.
 
Nov 8, 2023
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"Following that second test flight, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) identified 17 corrective actions for SpaceX to take before the next flight: 10 on Starship and seven on the Super Heavy booster."

Sorry, this is incorrect. SpaceX, not the FAA identified the 17 corrective actions and submitted them TO the FAA for review. The FAA then just last week approved the corrective actions.

This is good because since SpaceX identified the corrective actions, they have been working on them since the 2nd launch last November. That's why they are now ready to launch again pending an actual launch permit from the FAA, which sounds like it should be very soon based on the announced tentative launch date!

Regarding Jan Wolitzky's question, yes, again the plan is for the booster to be dropped into the Gulf and Starship will complete 1 orbit and then be dropped into the sea just off of Hawaii. At this point in the tests they might attempt to hover each just above the surface of the ocean to simulate actual landings.

They have the next 2 boosters and Starships nearly complete so the hope is the subsequent tests will increase in cadence.

Edit: It has been reported the FAA is very close indeed to approving the modified launch license for this 3rd flight.

Regarding the objectives for this 3rd flight, this is a post from SpaceX:

The third flight test aims to build on what we’ve learned from previous flights while attempting a number of ambitious objectives, including the successful ascent burn of both stages, opening and closing Starship’s payload door, a propellant transfer demonstration during the upper stage’s coast phase, the first ever re-light of a Raptor engine while in space, and a controlled reentry of Starship. It will also fly a new trajectory, with Starship targeted to splashdown in the Indian Ocean. This new flight path enables us to attempt new techniques like in-space engine burns while maximizing public safety.

Exciting times!
That's actually an important distinction (one that I was ignorant to) to make: The FAA isn't identifying the problems, SpaceX is doing its own investigation that produces a list of action items that are then approved by the FAA.

Glad the turnaround time's not dependent on SpaceX waiting to receive a list of demands from the FAA. As you said, great to know they've been making progress for four months already in solving these issues.
 
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