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SpaceX completes engine testing for manned lunar lander



Ignition of the descent engine to the lunar surface / European Press.

Ignition of the descent engine to the lunar surface / European Press.

SpaceX has successfully confirmed the performance of one of its Raptor space engines under the conditions required for the manned lunar lander it is developing with NASA.

(Human Landing System) HLS-Starship will be used during the Artemis III and Artemis IV missions to land American astronauts near the moon’s south pole.

Starship HLS will be powered by two versions of the company’s Raptor engine. One is optimized to operate at atmospheric pressure at sea level, and the other is optimized to operate in space or vacuum without an atmosphere.

Last month, SpaceX successfully demonstrated the performance of its vacuum-optimized Raptor through testing, confirming that it can start the engine even in the extremely cold conditions associated with long stays in space.

The challenge that distinguishes the Artemis mission from those in low Earth orbit is that the lander will remain in space for extended periods of time without firing its engines, allowing hardware temperatures to drop to lower levels than in experiments with much shorter missions. That’s true. NASA reports that it is in orbit around Earth.

One of the first test milestones that SpaceX completed under the Artemis III contract in November 2021 was also an engine test, which demonstrated that the Raptor could perform the critical landing phase on the lunar surface.

During the 281-second test fire, Raptor demonstrated the powered descent portion of the mission, in which Starship HLS leaves orbit above the lunar surface and begins its descent towards the lunar surface for landing. He had two purposes for the test. One is to demonstrate the Raptor’s ability to change the engine’s power level over time, known as the acceleration profile, and the other is to run the engine throughout the power descent phase.

SpaceX’s Raptor engine will be tested during the company’s second integrated flight test of Starship and Super Heavy, chaired by Elon Musk.

Source: Diario.Elmundo

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