SpaceX is gearing up for its first crewed flight for NASA with the Falcon 9 and Dragon spacecraft, but Elon Musk’s spaceflight firm is also planning for the future with the Starship. This vessel, previously known as the BFR, is an extremely ambitious project that will eventually give SpaceX enough power to venture to the outer solar system. First, it has to remain intact during pressure testing, something the latest SN4 vehicle has finally achieved.
The Starship is still in the early phases of construction and testing. Last year, SpaceX successfully tested the “Starhopper” prototype with one of the company’s new Raptor engines. However, the full-scale prototypes haven’t fared well in pressure testing. SN1 blew its top in February, and both SN2 and SN3 suffered similar fates during the “cryo” testing phase, which simulates a full-pressure tank in the vacuum of space. SN4 is the first version of the rocket to survive that test.
The success of the SN4 prototype is a big step forward for the Starship program. The next step is to set up a static fire test with a single Raptor engine on the SN4. That could happen as soon as next week. Assuming it’s still in one piece, SpaceX will then conduct a brief flight up to 500 feet (150 meters) before setting down. Elon Musk says that the next variant (predictably called SN5) will feature the full-scale tank and a trio of Raptor engines. The final design calls for six Raptor engines on the Starship and a further 37 of them on the Super Heavy stage.
SN4 passed cryo proof! 😅 pic.twitter.com/EJakThZRGF
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 27, 2020
SpaceX has big plans for the Starship. Along with its Super Heavy launch stage, the Starship will be able to carry large payloads to Mars and beyond. Musk even promises Mars colonization programs with the Starship. The spacecraft will also be able to send smaller missions to the outer planets, something that was previously only possible with government-operated launch platforms.
It will probably take several more versions of the Starship before the craft is ready for orbital flight, and that says nothing about the Super Heavy platform. The rocket will need that extra boost to reach distant places like the Moon and Mars. Eventually, SpaceX will fly Japanese billionaire Yusaka Maezawa on a trip around the moon. Musk has been hesitant to put a date on that with the recent setbacks, but previous reports pegged 2023 for the launch.
An Asteroid Bigger Than The Empire State Building Poses ‘No Danger’ On Saturday Night, Says NASA – Forbes
A huge near-Earth asteroid will pass our planet tonight at a safe distance of 3.2 million miles, according to NASA.
After a spate of doom-laden headlines the space agency felt the need yesterday to update a previous post about near-Earth asteroids with the following note:
“Asteroid 2002 NN4 will safely pass by the Earth on June 6 at a distance of approximately 3.2 million miles (5.1 million kilometers), about 13 times further away from the Earth than the Moon is. There is no danger the asteroid will hit the Earth.”
Asteroid 2002 NN4’s closest approach to Earth will be at 11:20 p.m. EDT. on Saturday, June 6, 2020.
NASA also tweeted the same advice:
NASA Asteroid Watch then tweeted this image of the asteroid’s trajectory:
How big is Asteroid 2002 NN4?
Asteroid 2002 NN4 is huge. Measuring between 820 feet and 1,870 feet (250 meters to 570 meters) according to Space.com. New York City’s Empire State Building is 443.2 meters tall, including its antenna.
That’s over a dozen times bigger than the asteroid that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, in 2013. That was the biggest meteor for over a century.
Would asteroid 2002 NN4 be dangerous if it hit Earth?
Yes—asteroid 2002 NN4 is city-killer size, but it’s not going to cause any harm to anyone.
Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.
Crew Dragon with two NASA astronauts docks to ISS – TASS
NEW YORK, May 31. /TASS/. The Crew Dragon spacecraft with Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken on board has successfully docked to the International Space Station (ISS), as follows from a NASA broadcast on Sunday.
The spacecraft began approaching the ISS about two hours before docking than was carried out 10:16 ahead of the schedule. The Crew Dragon spacecraft was launched using the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 22.22 pm Moscow time on May 30 from the Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Crew Dragon is a configuration of the cargo spacecraft Dragon, which had already delivered cargoes to the ISS. A Falcon-9 rocket put the cargo vehicle in space on March 2. Its docking with the ISS was carried out automatically the next day.
NASA stopped crewed flights in 2011 after the Space Shuttle program came to an end. From that moment on all astronauts were delivered to the ISS and back by Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft. Originally the Untied States was to start using commercial spacecraft for crewed missions in 2017.
Toddler could be battling rare syndrome in response to COVID-19 – Winnipeg Free Press
More than a month after testing positive for COVID-19, a Winnipeg toddler is fighting another illness – a possible rare inflammatory syndrome that could be part of the body’s reaction to new viruses.
The girl’s mother told CBC News doctors are trying to find out whether the one-year-old has developed Kawasaki disease, or multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children, now that she is negative for COVID-19 but is still seriously ill.
To read more of this story first reported by CBC News, click here.
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