SpaceX Cargo Launch and Starhopper Test Delayed

Share

Yesterday Wasn’t a Great Day for SpaceX

Elon Musk’s commercial space flight company was set to achieve a couple of more milestones yesterday. Then, they didn’t do either. One of the big missions was to send a used Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule to the ISS. The other was to be the first untethered hop test of the Starhopper prototype. The Starhopper test ended in an underwhelming fireball and no liftoff. Weather delayed the SpaceX cargo launch.  

The Falcon 9/Dragon Cargo Mission

SpaceX Falcon9 Rocket and Dragon capsule lifting off.

SpaceX Falcon9 Rocket and Dragon capsule lifting off.

It was down to the last few minutes, yesterday, but officials decided to postpone the SpaceX cargo launch because of “terrible” weather. Though officials hoped to re-launch today, that prospect isn’t looking good, either. There was only a 30% chance of the weather cooperating as of this morning. If SpaceX can’t launch it’s rocket today, they may have to wait until August 1st to get it off the ground. The Falcon 9 rocket carries a Dragon capsule designed to carry a 5000 payload to the ISS. Scientific research equipment made up about half of that payload. The cargo also included a new docking system for the space station. The new International Docking Adapter (IDA) accommodate a wide variety of international spacecraft. Those spacecraft include the new Boeing CST-100 Starliner and other international public and private craft. 

The Starhopper Prototype

The second bit of bad luck for SpaceX yesterday happened when the company’s Starhopper prototype aborted a hop test just seconds in. Starhopper is still in the development phase, so failures like these are inevitable. However, the prototype suffered another firey failure last week during a pre-flight check of the craft’s engine systems. The prototype escaped last week’s eruption without much damage, however. SpaceX founder Musk even saw fit to make light of it on Twitter afterward.

SpaceX's Starship design

SpaceX’s Starship design

Yesterday’s attempt ended when, after about three seconds, the engine shot out smoke and flame, then abruptly shut off. Kate Tice, a SpaceX certification engineer, told the media that the hop was designed to test the limits of the craft. At the time of the abort, the craft was operating at about 80% of its intended payload.

Starhopper is the prototype version of the SpaceX’s grand vision for commercial space travel – Starship. The prototype craft is designed to test systems that will later be applied to the Starship. The ultimate goal for Starship is to be able to carry 100 people into space. Tests like yesterday’s – especially the failures – help to ensure that by the time Starship is ready to carry people, it will be more Concorde and less Titanic.  


Want to support Space Porn? Check out all of the exquisite and tantalizing merch in our Marketplace! Better yet, you can support us on Patreon and get all kinds of great perks. Thanks for helping us out! 

Brandon Humphreys

Brandon Humphreys

I'm a wizard. I write stuff and it goes from my head into yours - Magic! Apart from that, I am the Senior Editor for Space Porn, a veteran, a rock guitarist, and a teacher.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

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