SpaceX Starship II sequence of events (IFT-2)

SpaceX Starship II sequence of events (IFT-2)

Mission Flight test #II: B9/S25 (IFT-2)

Mission

  • The second flight test of a fully integrated Starship will debut a hot-stage separation system and a new electronic Thrust Vector Control (TVC) system for Super Heavy Raptor engines, in addition to reinforcements to the pad foundation and a water-cooled steel flame deflector, among many other enhancements.
  • Integrated Test Flight IFT-2 (OFT-2)
  • Saturday 18-11-2023.

Flight objectives

  • Ascent.

  • Survival of the launch pad.

  • Separation of Starship (hot staging).

  • Test vacuum-optimized Raptors in space.

Configuration

  • Super Heavy SH9, Booster B9.
  • Starship SN25, S25.

Launch location

  • Starbase Boca Chica.

Landing locations

  • Booster: Gulf of Mexico.
  • Starship: Pacific Ocean.

Launch preparation (dd:mm:yy)

  • 27-06-2023 Static Fire (SF) S25.
  • 04-08-2023 Spin Prime Test (SPT) B9.
  • 06-08-2023 Static Fire (SF) B9.
  • 08-09-2023 FAA review previous launch.
  • 22-10-2023 Wet Dress Rehearsal  (WDR) with full-stack.
  • 10-11-2023 Flight Termination System (FTS) installed (FTS), stage 0, B9.
  • 10-11-2023 Flight Termination System (FTS) installed (FTS), stage 0, S25.
  • 11-11-2023 B9 and S25 destacked.
  • 14-11-2023 USA Flight restrictions issued.
  • 14-11-2023 Mexico Flight restrictions issued.
  • 14-11-2023 Marine hazard zone Gulf issued.
  • 14-11-2023 Marine hazard zone Hawaii issued.
  • 14-11-2023 Road closure notification issued.
  • 15-11-2023 Vehicle stacked.
  • 15-11-2023 Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) review previous launch.
  • 15-11-2023 FAA Launch license issued/granted.
  • 16-11-2023 Testing fins. Grid fin actuator must be replaced. Grid fins are the waffre-iron-like structures on the booster, which help steer its way back to Earth.
  • 16-11-2023 Launch option 1.
  • 17-11-2023 Launch option 1 scrubbed. De-stack and repair.
  • 17-11-2023 Hot staging ring reinstalled after workers replaced three grid fin actuators.
  • 18-11-2023 Launch option 2. 

NOTAM (FAA Notice To Air Men) and TFR (FAA Temporary Flight Restrictions)

  • 14-11-2023 Issued for Mexican airspace.
  • 14-11-2023 Issued for Hawaii airspace.
  • 15-11-2023 Issued by Brownsville airspace.

Option 1: Launch window IFT-2 Boca Chica Friday 17-11-2023 duration 02:00 (hh:mm) SCRUBBED

16-11-2023 Testing fins. Grid fin actuator must be replaced. 17-11-2023 Launch scrubbed

TimezonePreparations
(2 hours to Open)
Coverage
(30 mins to Open)
Window OpenWindow Closed
CST (local)0500 am0630 am0700 am0900 am
EST0600 am0730 am0800 am1000 am
UTC/GMT1100123013001500
CET1200133014001600

Option 2: Launch window IFT-2 Boca Chica Saturday 18-11-2023 duration 00:20 (hh:mm). Successful.

Timezone

Preparations
(2 hours to Open)

Go for propellant load

Coverage
(30 mins to Open)
Window OpenWindow Closed
CST (local)0500 am0630 am0700 am0720 am
EST0600 am0730 am0800 am0820 am
UTC/GMT1100123013001320
CET1200133014001420

Clock

  • Timezones:

Last seven hours before liftoff (T-time, hh:mm:ss)

  • 07:00:00 Road closure window opens
  • 05:00:00 Tank farm chilldown. Pope stick vent.
  • 04:00:00 Chopsticks opened.
  • 03:00:00 Pad clear. 
  • 02:20:00 OLM vent starts.
  • 02:10:00 First tower vent.
  • 02:00:00 Weather Go.
  • 02:00:00 Range Go.
  • 02:00:00 Vehicle Go.
  • 02:00:00 Payload Go.
  • 02:00:00 SpaceX Flight Director conducts poll and verifies: GO for propellant load
  • 01:34:00 Stop OLM vent.
  • 01:34:00 Booster LOX load underway. Frost ring.
  • 01:34:00 Booster Methane load underway.
  • 01:17:00 Ship Methane load underway.
  • 01:13:00 Ship LOX load underway.
  • 00:57:00 Release clamps open.
  • 00:30:00 Coverage by SpaceX 30 minutes before liftoff starts (new tab).
  • 00:19:42 Raptor begins engine chill on booster and ship.
  • 00:05:00 Propellant load wraps.
  • 00:01:33 Test move center engines Booster.
  • 00:01:15 Checks completed.
  • 00:00:40 Optional hold point (recycle). Needed for late pressurisation. Stay within launch window.
  • 00:00:40 SpaceX Flight Director: GO for launch.
  • 00:00:40 Release of the clock.
  • 00:00:03 FireX activated.
  • 00:00:10 Flame deflector activation (deluge).
  • 00:00:03 Raptor ignition sequence starts.

Scheduled and actual events during flight (MET, hh:mm:ss)

 

PhaseScheduledActualBoosterStarshipAltitude kmSpeed km/hRemarks
Launch00:00:0200:00:05LiftoffLiftoff0126

A. Booster: 33 engines

Shockwave

00:00:10 cleared the tower.

Ascent00:00:52 00:01:08MaxQMaxQ 111314B. Booster: 33 engines.
MECO00:02:39 00:02:41MECO – 685657 

C. Booster: 3 engines on 50%.

To experience positive G’s and keep the fuel at the bottom of the tanks.

Velocity decreases.

Hot staging
(Starship activation)
00:02:4100:02:48 Ignition (00:02:48)
separation (00:02:51)
All raptors
(00:02:53)
Starship:
77
Starship:
5737

D. Ship: 3 Vacuum engines start. 

While still attached.

To push the vehicles apart.

 

Booster
flip
00:02:5300:02:53 Re-orientation –  E. Booster flipover and relight inner engines to perform a boost back.
Booster
back
00:02:53 Startup –90  (RUD) 3818 (RUD)A number of the Raptors dit not relight
Plumes/Flashes:
00:03:15
00:03:18
00:03:20

00:03:21 Booster RUD
Boostback00:03:47  Shutdown –   
Booster
descent
00:06:18 Transsonic–    
Booster
descent
00:06:30 Startup –   
Booster
landing
00:06:48 Burn / landing–    Gulf of Mexico. No recovery.
Starship
ascent

00:08:04 (RUD)

00:03:30

00:04:00

00:04:30

00:05:00

00:05:30

00:06:00

00:06:30

00:07:00

00:07:30

00:08:00

00:08:04 (RUD)

 – 

90

116

128

137

144

148

149

149

148

148

148 (RUD)

3818

7414

8419

9629

11031

12702

14678

17051

20016

23651

24114 (RUD)

6 Raptors running (3 Sea level and 3 Vacuum) 

00:07:07 Stable plume
00:07:40 Unstable plume
00:08:05 Unstable plume
00:08:09 Unstable plume
00:08:04 Starship RUD

Starship
engine cutoff (SECO)
00:08:33  –Cutoff   
Starship
coastal
   –Coastal  Semi orbital trajectory, perigee (lowest point) within the atmosphere (150-250 km).
Starship
entry
01:17:21  – Start  entry  No deorbit burn needed
Starship entry01:28:43  –  Transonic  This mission no attempt to reignite the engines .
Starship landing01:30:00  –  Plunge  Pacific Ocean near Island of Kauai. 
x       

Evaluation IFT-2

Positive

  • Launch pad survived  (deluge).
  • All 33 Booster Raptors active (performance?)
  • Separation of Starship executed (hot staging).
  • First performance of a vacuum-optimized Raptors in space.

Negative

  • Booster
        • Issue with the Quick Disconnect (QD).
        • Propellant plumes.
        • Partial boostback.
        • Propellant issues:
            • Issue with the propellant feeding the engines during the shutdown and relight sequence.
            • It might be a problem with the propellant (not) feeding the engines. Fluid hammer or fuel slush (or a combination of both).
            • Booster maneuvers can cause the fluid to SLO around in the tanks and uncover the ports that are feeding the engines. If gas gets into the fuel lines feeding the pumps it can destroy the engines. Fluid hammer is an issue with a big rocket because we have many engines moving tons of propellant through the system. When you shut the engines down all that propellant has momentum that can hit hard on the valves and  can damage the pipes. That’s why they shut down the engines om blocks of five at a time. Rather than shutting them down all at once.

        • FTS activated (manual?).
        • RUD.
  • Starship
        • Heat sheet tyles Starship fell off shortly after liftoff.
            • Problems with the bonding process of glue on the metal seams.
        • Velocity under-performance?
        • Low on LOX? Structural issue in the feed lines?
        • FTS activated.
            • FTS triggered automatically because Starship went too far off course.
        • RUD.
            • The front part (with the wings) continues to fly after the RUD. As a result, the destruction was unsuccessful and an FAA investigation is underway.
            • Starship debris reported in Puerto Rico.

IFT-2 Trajectory planned

SpaceX Starship II Trajectory testflights November 2023
IFT-2 Trajectory Planned

IFT-1 and IFT-2 Telemetry Actual

IFT-1 and IFT-2 Telemetry
IFT-1 and IFT-2 Telemetry Actual (Altitude, Down range, Velocity)
IFT-2 Telemetry
IFT-2 Telemetry Actual (Velocity, Time, Altitude, Down Range, Tank capacity)

IFT-2 Design

Max Q
Max Q
IFT-2 Infographic
IFT-2 Infographic

IFT-2 Liftoff impression

IFT-2 Liftoff
IFT-2 Liftoff
IFT-2 Liftoff
IFT-2 Liftoff

Starship

SpaceX, founded in 2002 by Elon Musk, has revolutionized the space industry through its innovative reusable rockets and ambitious goals for space exploration. One of the company’s most notable achievements is the Starship launch system, which has seen several successful launches and tests since its inception.

The first successful Starship prototype, SN5, took flight in August 2020, reaching a height of 500 feet before landing back on the launchpad. This was followed by the successful high-altitude flight of SN6 in September 2020, which reached an altitude of 7.8 kilometers before landing. The Starship program continued to make progress, with the successful flight and landing of SN8 in December 2020, reaching a height of 12.5 kilometers and landing in a controlled manner.

However, not all launches have been successful. SN9 exploded upon landing in February 2021, but this did not deter SpaceX’s efforts, as they continued testing with SN10 and SN11, both of which successfully landed. The company then had a string of successful launches, including the first operational flight of starship to orbit in May 2022, and the first successful crewed flight of the spacecraft in November 2022.

SpaceX’s starship launch system has garnered much attention for its reusable design, which is a major step forward in reducing the cost of space launches. The ability to reuse the starship makes space launches more affordable and accessible, which could greatly benefit both commercial and government space programs.

In addition to its cost-saving capabilities, the starship launch system has also been designed with interplanetary travel in mind. SpaceX aims to use the starship to eventually transport humans to Mars and establish a permanent settlement there. The company’s ultimate goal is to make life multi-planetary, and the starship launch system is a crucial component of this vision.

Overall, the history of SpaceX’s starship launches has been marked by significant milestones and breakthroughs in reusable rocket technology. The company’s commitment to innovation and ambitious goals has set it apart from its competitors and positioned it as a leader in the space industry. With continued development and successful launches, the future of space travel looks bright for SpaceX and its starship launch system.

Footnote