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SpaceX Starship static fire success sets rocket up for hop debut – Teslarati

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At long last, SpaceX’s fifth Starship prototype has successfully ignited its lone Raptor engine in a test known as a static fire, paving the way for the first flight of a full-scale Starship as early as this weekend.

After almost three weeks of delays and several aborted attempts, SpaceX managed to fix a variety of relatively minor hardware bugs described by CEO Elon Musk on July 28th. The first static fire attempt was originally scheduled as early as July 10th and wound up gradually slipping a few days at a time to July 25th. Thus began another series of delays after static fire attempts – with varying progress from each – were aborted on July 25th, 27th (x2), and the morning of the 30th.

Thankfully, though those aborts and scrubs and delays have finally come to an end – at least for the moment. If things go according to plan over the next several days and teams are able to rectify a critical issue discovered earlier this week, Starship SN5 could become the first full-scale of its kind to lift off (intentionally) just a few days from now.

Elon Musk released this unique photo of Starship SN5’s first static fire – apparently taken by drone – shortly after the test wrapped up. (SpaceX/Elon Musk)

Prior to Starship SN5’s successful July 30th static fire, Musk revealed in a tweet that the rocket’s second attempt was aborted on July 27th after Hurricane Hanna damaged a connector, presumably related to telemetry and control. SpaceX fixed the issue and managed to stretch its test window by a few hours, allowing for a second attempt later that night.

Unfortunately, Starship’s static fire was scrubbed again by what Musk later described as a crucial fuel valve that failed to open, as well as “some odd [behavior]” observed in a pump related to the Raptor engine’s steering hardware. To complete the static fire as SpaceX later would two days later, the finicky “fuel spin pump” would have to have been fully fixed, but Raptor’s thrust vector control (TVC) pump issues could have plausibly been put off.

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Given that SpaceX spent approximately 2.5 days inspecting and repairing Starship after the third static fire abort, it’s likely that they had time to fix whatever bugs were plaguing Raptor’s TVC hydraulic system. Regardless, Raptor’s TVC will need to be operating flawlessly before SpaceX goes ahead with the first full-scale Starship flight test. The 150m (~500 ft) hop will be the first time a Starship prototype roughly the same size – and built out of the same materials – as an orbital-class ship will attempt controlled flight.

Prior to July 30th’s static fire, SpaceX had already filed a few temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) – used to warn aviators of keep-out zones – with the FAA for hop test attempts on August 2nd and 3rd. SpaceX will likely need 12-24 hours to analyze the data, inspect Starship, and determine a timeline for the first hop attempt, but there is at least a slight chance that the company will push for Starship SN5 to fly as early as this Sunday. Stay tuned as things play out and the hop test gets a more concrete date.

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Check out Teslarati’s newsletters for prompt updates, on-the-ground perspectives, and unique glimpses of SpaceX’s rocket launch and recovery processes.

SpaceX Starship static fire success sets rocket up for hop debut




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China's Chang'e-5 probe completes second orbital correction – ecns

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China’s lunar probe Chang’e-5 successfully carried out its second orbital correction Wednesday night, according to the China National Space Administration (CNSA).

The probe conducted the orbital correction at 10:06 p.m. (Beijing Time), when its two 150N engines were operational for about six seconds.

Prior to the orbital correction, the lunar probe had traveled for roughly 41 hours in orbit, and was about 270,000 km away from Earth. All of the probe’s systems were in good condition.

The CNSA said that the tracking of the probe by ground monitoring and communication centers and stations is going smoothly.

China launched the lunar probe Tuesday to collect and return samples from the moon. It is the country’s first attempt to retrieve samples from an extraterrestrial body.


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This rocks! Western University student spots never-before-seen asteroid – Belleville Intelligencer

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A Western University astronomy student from Chatham, who’s been stargazing since he was a kid, has discovered an asteroid through remote access to a telescope in Spain.

Graduate student Cole Gregg, 22, was using a telescope based at an observatory known as Astrocamp to troll the night sky when he spotted the small, fast-moving, flashing object.

His find — an asteroid estimated to be about 50 to 100 metres long — came after months of seeing nothing notable during his studies. It was, to put it mildly, “unexpected,” Gregg said Wednesday.

“It was quite shocking. You are not really ready for it,” he said. “It takes you by surprise and it was very exciting.”

Using the telescope located on a Spanish mountaintop, Gregg said he observed the asteroid as it sped close to Earth, moving through near-space across Europe.

Gregg’s astronomy professor, Paul Wiegert, called it “a rare treat to be the first person to spot one of these visitors to our planet’s neighbourhood.”

Added Wiegert: “Astronomers around the globe are continuously monitoring near-Earth space for asteroids so this is certainly a feather in Cole’s cap.”


Western astronomy student Cole Gregg monitors the night skies. Gregg discovered the asteroid ALA2xH a week ago.

Gregg spotted the asteroid, given the temporary designation ALA2xH, on Nov. 18. Data collected about the asteroid was sent to the Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Mass., to determine whether the observation was unique or not.

From there, it goes on their near-Earth object confirmation page.

Gregg used a website called Itelescope, which allows the public to access telescopes via the internet.

“A lot of people use them for the pretty astrophotography pictures, but they are quite capable of science as well,” Gregg said. “My project is proving that these small telescopes are quite capable of science.”

Despite their efforts, Gregg said they have not spotted the asteroid again “due to weather and unavailability of the telescopes.”

Gregg said he has been fascinated with space since he was camping as a boy and relished looking up at stars in the dark skies. “It sparked my interest.”

After completing his PhD in astronomy, he hopes to continue his research and teach.

“I’m interested in asteroids and comets and how they move, how they exist in the solar system and where they come from,” he said. “And how we can learn from our own solar system to understand . . . other solar systems in the galaxy.”

HRivers@postmedia.com


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This rocks! Western University student spots never-before-seen asteroid – Kingston This Week

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A Western University astronomy student from Chatham, who’s been stargazing since he was a kid, has discovered an asteroid through remote access to a telescope in Spain.

Graduate student Cole Gregg, 22, was using a telescope based at an observatory known as Astrocamp to troll the night sky when he spotted the small, fast-moving, flashing object.

His find — an asteroid estimated to be about 50 to 100 metres long — came after months of seeing nothing notable during his studies. It was, to put it mildly, “unexpected,” Gregg said Wednesday.

“It was quite shocking. You are not really ready for it,” he said. “It takes you by surprise and it was very exciting.”

Using the telescope located on a Spanish mountaintop, Gregg said he observed the asteroid as it sped close to Earth, moving through near-space across Europe.

Gregg’s astronomy professor, Paul Wiegert, called it “a rare treat to be the first person to spot one of these visitors to our planet’s neighbourhood.”

Added Wiegert: “Astronomers around the globe are continuously monitoring near-Earth space for asteroids so this is certainly a feather in Cole’s cap.”


Western astronomy student Cole Gregg monitors the night skies. Gregg discovered the asteroid ALA2xH a week ago.

Gregg spotted the asteroid, given the temporary designation ALA2xH, on Nov. 18. Data collected about the asteroid was sent to the Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Mass., to determine whether the observation was unique or not.

From there, it goes on their near-Earth object confirmation page.

Gregg used a website called Itelescope, which allows the public to access telescopes via the internet.

“A lot of people use them for the pretty astrophotography pictures, but they are quite capable of science as well,” Gregg said. “My project is proving that these small telescopes are quite capable of science.”

Despite their efforts, Gregg said they have not spotted the asteroid again “due to weather and unavailability of the telescopes.”

Gregg said he has been fascinated with space since he was camping as a boy and relished looking up at stars in the dark skies. “It sparked my interest.”

After completing his PhD in astronomy, he hopes to continue his research and teach.

“I’m interested in asteroids and comets and how they move, how they exist in the solar system and where they come from,” he said. “And how we can learn from our own solar system to understand . . . other solar systems in the galaxy.”

HRivers@postmedia.com


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