Starship SN8 completed its LOX Header Tank Cryogenic Proof test from Boca Chica, Texas on November 4th. This is not the end of the line for testing the Starship SN8 as the second run of Static Fire tests is yet to be performed over the course of the coming week which will be followed by a test flight later this month.
Before the ship made its test run, Elon Musk clarified that the SN8’s flight is mainly aimed at maintaining a stably controlled descent.
The latest testing done involved a cryogenic proof testing of the nosecone’s LOX header tank, which, as mentioned earlier, will be followed by Static Fire tests with one, then two engines both though the Header Tank system.
The Header Tank tests are related to the landing burn with the propellant that is dependent on smaller tanks on the tip of which the LOX tank is located. Before reaching that point, the SN8 had to go through a Raptor relight. It goes without saying that to conduct successful testing a lot of the procedures need to go exactly as planned.
The whole process right up to the finish point will be a major data reservoir for the company, using which SpaceX could tackle some pressing problems in real life. As per NASA’s report, the tests are aimed at providing ground testing for the upcoming single Raptor ignition, followed by a two-engine landing burn.
Prior to the test, Elon Musk said in a Twitter reply, “Understanding exactly how the body flaps control pitch, yaw & roll during descent, such that the ship is positioned well to relight, flip & land, would be a big win.” The failure that was expected would occur was concerned mainly with the attempt to return to the landing pad, but the vehicles safely headed back to the pad.