SpaceX has submitted a plan to the FCC for the first orbital test of its new Starship prototype spacecraft. The test date is unknown at the moment, but company officials have repeatedly said they plan to test it this year.
According to the document, a bundle of Starship and the first stage of the Super Heavy will be launched from the Space X test site near the Texas village of Boca Chica. The Super Heavy will undock from the spacecraft 171 seconds after liftoff. The stage will then perform a partial return maneuver and land in the Gulf of M e x I c o, 32 kilometers off the coast.
As for Starship, it will develop enough speed to enter low Earth orbit. The ship will make an incomplete orbit around the Earth. Near Hawaii, it will activate its engines and enter the atmosphere. If all goes as planned, the prototype will land in the ocean about 100 kilometers off the northwest coast of the island of Kauai. The total flight time will be 9 0 minutes.
According to the document, the main purpose of the flight will collect as much data as possible, which is difficult to calculate or simulate on a computer.
Judging by the presented plan, SpaceX does not intend to use barges to land Starship and Super Heavy. They will land directly in the ocean on engines. At one time SpaceX landed several Falcon 9 stages in a similar way, practicing the technology of their return.