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SpaceX's SN20 Starship prototype completes its first static fire test – Yahoo Movies Canada

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SpaceX has taken a major step towards sending the Starship to orbit. On Thursday night, the private space corporation has conducted the SN20 Starship prototype’s first static fire test as part of its preparation for the spacecraft’s launch. According to Space, the SN20 is currently outfitted with two Raptor engines: A standard “sea-level” Raptor and a vacuum version designed to operate in space. At 8:16PM Eastern time on Thursday, the company fired the latter. SpaceX then revealed on Twitter that it was the first ever firing of a Raptor vacuum engine integrated onto a Starship.

Around an hour after that, the SN20 lit up yet again in a second static fire test that may have involved both Raptor engines. The SN20 will eventually have six Raptors — three standard and three vacuum — and will be the first prototype to attempt an orbital launch. A Starship launch system is comprised of the Starship spacecraft itself and a massive first-stage booster called the Super Heavy. Both are designed to be reusable and to carry large payloads for trips to low and higher Earth orbits. It can also eventually be used for longer trips to the Moon and to Mars. 

SpaceX doesn’t have a date for the SN20 test flight yet, but the plan is to launch the vehicle with the Super Heavy known as Booster 4 from the company’s Boca Chica site. The booster will splash down in the Gulf of Mexico, while the SN20 will continue its journey towards orbit. 

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Spacewalking astronauts replace antenna after debris scare – Phys.Org

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This photo provided by NASA shows astronaut Tom Marshburn replaces a broken antenna outside the International Space Station after getting NASA’s all-clear for orbiting debris, on Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021. Marshburn and Kayla Barron completed the job Thursday. Credit: NASA via AP

Spacewalking astronauts replaced a broken antenna outside the International Space Station on Thursday after getting NASA’s all-clear for orbiting debris.

U.S. astronauts Tom Marshburn and Kayla Barron were supposed to complete the job Tuesday, but NASA delayed the spacewalk because of potentially threatening space junk. NASA later determined the astronauts were safe to go out, despite a slightly increased risk of a punctured suit from satellite wreckage.

But soon after the spacewalk ended, Mission Control notified the crew that the station would need to move into a slightly lower orbit Friday to avoid an old U.S. rocket fragment.

Last month, Russia destroyed an old satellite in a missile test, sending pieces everywhere. NASA isn’t saying whether that event was the source of the junk that delayed the spacewalk.

During the first National Space Council meeting under Vice President Kamala Harris this week, top U.S. government officials joined her in condemning Russia’s extensive debris-scattering last month. More than 1,700 sizable pieces of the shattered satellite are being tracked, with tens if not hundreds of thousands too small to see.

Barron reported at least 11 small debris strikes to the failed antenna that was removed during the spacewalk, with some of the holes looking old. The device—up there for more than 20 years—malfunctioned in September.

Marshburn, 61, became the oldest person to conduct a spacewalk. It was the fourth of his career. Barron, a 34-year-old space rookie, ventured out on her first. They flew up on SpaceX last month for a six-month stay. Two other Americans are aboard the space station, along with two Russians and one German.


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Space junk forces spacewalk delay, too risky for astronauts


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SpaceX launches 48 more Starlinks and two Earth-imaging satellites – CBS News

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A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket boosted 48 more Starlink internet relay satellites into orbit Thursday, along with two BlackSky commercial Earth-imaging satellites. The flight marked the 27th Falcon 9 launch so far this year, a new record for the California-based rocket builder.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasts off from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station carrying 48 Starlink internet relay stations and two BlackSky Earth-imaging satellites.

William Harwood/CBS News


The Falcon 9’s first stage booster, making its ninth flight, thundered to life at 6:12 p.m. EST, smoothly pushing the 229-foot-tall rocket away from pad 40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station atop 1.7 million pounds of thrust.

Eight minutes and 45 second later, the second stage and its 50-satellite cargo were safely in orbit. Just under an hour later, the two BlackSky satellites were released, followed by the 48 Starlinks about 25 minutes after that.

Meanwhile, the Falcon 9’s well-traveled booster successfully landed on an off-shore droneship to chalk up SpaceX’s 96th successful recovery, and its 73rd at sea.

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The nine first stage engines in the Falcon 9 booster put on a colorful show as the rocket climbed out of the lower atmosphere and the exhaust plume expanded in the lower pressure environment.

SpaceX


SpaceX has now launched 1,892 Starlinks as it populates a globe-spanning commercial constellation of internet relay satellites designed to provide broadband service to users anywhere in the world. Going into Thursday’s launch, 1,684 Starlinks were believed to be operational.

The two BlackSky imaging satellites joined eight others already in orbit, with two more scheduled for launch from New Zealand atop a Rocketlab booster later this month. BlackSky provides high-resolution imagery to commercial users as well as U.S. military and intelligence agencies.

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China regulator says more testing needed to certify C919 aircraft

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China‘s aviation regulator said on Friday that there is still a huge amount of testing to be done for the home-grown narrowbody C919 aircraft to be certified, raising doubt over planemaker COMAC’s year-end target.

So far, the C919, China’s attempt to rival Airbus SE and Boeing Co, has completed only 34 certification tests out of 276 planned, Yang Zhenmei, a Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) official, told reporters.

Reuters in September reported COMAC has found it harder to meet certification and production targets for the C919 amid tough U.S. export rules, according to three people with knowledge of the programme.

China Eastern Airlines Corp Ltd said in August it expected to receive its first C919 by the end of the year, but that would require the model to be certified.

COMAC is years behind its initial certification schedule and it did not take the C919 to China’s biggest air show in Zhuhai in September.

C919 Chief Designer Wu Guanghui last month recommended CAAC continue to focus on certification as a priority for next year and asked it to step up resources to help with the delivery and commercial operations of the plane.

 

(Reporting by Stella Qiu in Beijing and Jamie Freed in Sydney; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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