SpaceX Starship is preparing for its first orbital flight
6:30

SpaceX Starship is preparing for its first orbital flight

Science
Speaker 1: SpaceX is preparing to launch the Starship into orbit. So what does the star ship's biggest flight ever mean for the future of space travel? I'm here to explain it all. SpaceX wants the Starship to be the rocket of future capable of carrying cargo and crew on long duration, interplanetary flights, but creating that future. Well, that's taken [00:00:30] a lot of work. There were early test flights with prototypes that looked more like tin cans than rockets. And there have been a few rapid UN all disassembles, Speaker 1: But space has also had a lot of success in a short amount of time. In May, 2021, the company successfully launched the SN 15 prototype flying, 10 kilometers or 6.2 miles into the air before doing a belly flop and [00:01:00] landing safely back a on the landing pad. Now we are ready for starships first orbital flight. Unlike those earlier tests, we're not gonna see a scaled down rocket fly a few miles into the air for this launch. We're going to see the full stack. The full stack refers to the super heavy rocket on the bottom. And the Starship spacecraft are top. Now it's a little confusing, but SpaceX refers to both the spacecraft on top and the whole system, including the super heavy as [00:01:30] Starship. The super heavy rocket does the grunt work. It stands at 70 meters, tall or 230 feet and nine meters wide. It has 29 Raptor engines, which provide 72 mega NUS of thrust. Speaker 1: That's a lot of numbers to throw at you, but essentially the super heavy is designed to give the Starship a massive boost into orbit. Once it's done that, it's designed to come back down and land on earth. The second stage of the system, the 50 meter tall Starship spacecraft [00:02:00] is what will one day carry cargo and human crew. It has a payload capacity of more than a hundred tons, which according to Starship gives it the largest usable payload volume of any current or in development launcher. The whole Starship system stands at 120 meters or 394 feet. It can carry 4,600 of propellant in this case, liquid oxygen and methane. Most of which goes in the super heavy booster. SpaceX [00:02:30] says the Starship will be the most powerful launch vehicle ever developed, capable of taking humans to the moon Mars and beyond. In fact, NASA has already chosen the Starship as the rocket that will take the next Astron it's to the moon with the OIS program. Speaker 1: And this orbital flight is part of proving that SpaceX can do it. Now, of course, this isn't the first high profile space launch we've seen this year. Richard Branson flew with Virgin gala galactic. Jeff Bezos flew in blue [00:03:00] origins, new shepherd rocket. Both of these companies flew to the edge of space, 86 kilometers up in the case of Branson and 107 kilometers for Bezos. But that's a long way from orbit, low earth orbit, where the space station sits well, that doesn't start until a hundred miles or about 160 kilometers above earth spending a few minutes in microgravity versus going all the way into orbit. Well, SpaceX is playing in a whole different ballgame. Speaker 2: So the main difference between [00:03:30] what we've already seen from, uh, blue origin and Virgin lactic, and some of those high profile suborbital flights is, is really, it has to do with altitude and with speed. And you need more of both of those to escape the gravity well of earth in order to get up to orbit, uh, which is kind of where a lot of the magic happens to get Speaker 1: Into orbit. You need to escape Earth's gravity and to do that, you need a whole lot more firepower, but that's where the super heavy it's 29 [00:04:00] Raptor engines come into play. And with this orbital launch, we'll get to see them in all their glory. According to documents, SpaceX filed with the FCC. The plan is to take off from the launchpad in Boca, Chica, Texas, or as SpaceX is trying to rename the entire town star base, Texas. The booster will separate from the second stage, just three minutes into the flight that booster will then come back down and land in the Gulf of Mexico, approximately 20 miles from the shore. The Starship second stage [00:04:30] will continue flying through the Florida straits and enter orbit before coming down for a quote powered targeted landing in the ocean, roughly a hundred kilometers or six off the Northwest coast of Kauai in Hawaii. Now we've already seen a whole lot of action down at the SpaceX launch site in Texas Speaker 2: Recently. Uh, we've seen for the first time photos of all 29 Raptor engines installed and they've even, [00:05:00] uh, been spotted, rolling it out of the high bay for the very first time. The high bay is kind of this gigantic garage. So the message seems to be from, uh, SpaceX and Elon Musk that, Hey, we've got our gigantic booster. It's here. It's ready to thunder up, but Speaker 1: SpaceX still needs approval to fly from the FAA. Now, of course, SpaceX has ignored the FAA before back in 2020, it launched its SN eight prototype despite being denied a safety waiver. [00:05:30] The FAA said no, and SpaceX went ahead anyway, but regardless of that history, the Starship is still a little way off Speaker 2: Launching. So my best guess at where things are at with the FAA and with the licensing requirements is I think we're probably at least a few months out. These things can sometimes take up to a year. Hopefully it doesn't take that long, but definitely a few months you wouldn't get that from looking at the SpaceX and Elon Musks, uh, Twitter feeds where they're basically saying, Hey, look, we got a rocket Speaker 1: Ready to [00:06:00] go. Still. If everything goes to plan, this first orbital launch will be awesome to watch. Not only SpaceX launching its mammoth rocket into orbit for the very first time, but a chance for the rest of us down here to see what the future of space travel could really look like. All right. If you plan on watching the launch, then let me know down in the comments below. And if there's any more space news or explainers that you'd like to hear from me, then let me know there too. All right, until next time, good night and God speed.

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