By mid-March, SpaceX wants to begin its next major test on the Starship rocket, the vehicle that one day aims to reach Mars. The objective is to test the Raptor engines of the rocket at a higher altitude than usual, and then to be able to land it on firm ground, to prove that it can be reused when it lands on other planets.
To this end, it submitted the respective requisite documents for American regulatory authorization, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), responsible for the portfolio of companies that want to launch vehicles into space, but also the allocation of radio communication frequencies during flights. In the document, as shown by The Verge, Elon Musk's company asks for authorization to communicate with the Starship rocket, when it is at an altitude of 20 kilometers high.
The objective is to launch the Starship test model from its Boca Chica, Texas, facility, recovering it in the immediate vicinity, ensuring its return intact thanks to the Raptor engines. All data obtained from the test will then be shared with NASA and the Fora Area for analysis.
Elon Musk has been claiming that Starship can carry more than 100 metric tons of cargo, or else carry 100 passengers at once. Recently SpaceX showed the new prototype of Starship, saying that the tests would be for months. In October, SpaceX facilities received a visit from Jim Bridenstine, NASA administrator and Elon Musk brought him up to speed on the progress, confirming that Crew Dragon was about to begin astronaut transport operations from American soil on early 2020.
ACrew Dragon successfully carried out the test, thus obtaining NASA certification for the beginning of piloted tests. The next step is to do a manned test, with Demo-2, which is scheduled for the first quarter of 2020. On board the Crew Dragon follow NASA astronauts, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, who will be the test pilots of the capsule. There is still no specific date for this specific test.