Elon Musk's SpaceX Amps Up Starship Ahead Of 2nd Flight Test — Adds Vented Interstage, Heat Shield

Elon Musk‘s rocket manufacturing company SpaceX offered a peek into the upgrades made to Starship ahead of its second flight test.

What Happened: Starship is a fully reusable transportation system expected to carry people and cargo to Mars and includes the Starship spacecraft and the Super Heavy rocket. SpaceX has now installed a vented interstage and heat shield atop the Super Heavy prototype called Booster 9, which will be involved in the second flight test.

For the next flight attempt, Starship and Super Heavy will be upgraded to use a separation method called hot-staging where Starship’s second stage engines will ignite to push the ship away from the booster, SpaceX said. The vented interstage extension will enable Starship to turn on its engines while the booster engines are still firing, Musk elaborated.

SpaceX attempted the first flight of Starship on April 20 and the rocket exploded in less than four minutes after takeoff. 

Why It Matters: In an interview with journalist and author Ashlee Vance on June 24, Musk highlighted the changes made to Starship since the first flight and estimated a 60% probability for the next flight to reach orbit, contingent on the success of stage separation. He then anticipated the second flight test to occur in six weeks. However, no target date has been announced till date.

Musk also talked about the planned use of hot staging at the interview. A technique used mostly by the Soviets, it can potentially increase Starship’s payload to orbit by 10%, Musk said.

Check out more of Benzinga’s Future Of Mobility coverage by following this link.

Read More: ‘Got To Fund Mara Somehow:’ Elon Musk’s Uncorrectable Typo On X Spurs Confusion And Laughter

Image created with artificial intelligence on MidJourney and Official SpaceX Photos on Flickr

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