Futurizonte Editor’s Note: SpaceX is closer than ever to send a manned mission to space. We will soon see how close they are.
Original author and publication date: Brian Wang | September 29, 2019
Elon Musk told CNN that he believes SpaceX Super Heavy Starship could have manned flights in 12-15 months. Elon said he was quite confident about manned Starship flights by the end of 2020 and possibly even 12 months.
The SpaceX Dragon 2 system should have hardware for the crew abort test ready by October and the first manned crew hardware by November. The manned crew would fly after a successful crew abort test and after the safety checks for the Dragon 2 crew mission. Elon thinks the manned crew flight (SPX-DM2) could fly in 3-4 months.
This would mean the manned SpaceX Super Heavy Starship could be 8-12 months after the crew dragon mission.
The manned SpaceX Super Heavy Starship would beat the Space Launch System to orbit and to a manned mission.
The test program for the core stage at Stennis will begin with installing the stage into the test stand. Then, engineers will turn the components on one by one through a series of initial tests and functional checks designed to identify any issues. Those tests and checks will culminate in an eight-minute-long test fire, mimicking the full duration of the stage’s first flight with ignition, ascent and engine shutdown. The results of this test also will provide important data that will confirm how the system reacts as the fuel is depleted from the propellant tanks.
SLS will be fully assembled. SLS will be shipped by barge to the Green Run test stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center where it will take another few months to set up the test. “We’ll probably fire it off in the second or third quarter of (2020),” Boeing SLS team lead Robert Broeren told the same conference.
It will take still more time to assess the test and get the SLS core to the launch site at Kennedy Space Center. “From (arrival at Kennedy), with the integration of Orion, wet dress rehearsal and that sort of thing, there’s probably two quarters, maybe two and a half quarters, of work to get to a launch date,” he estimated. “So, most likely early in 2021. It could happen earlier, it could happen later.”