Very excited about the upcoming Space X Starship SN8 test flight, but was concerned about the ability to perform the high drag horizontal belly flop with some of the rocket thruster hardware missing from the back. If 3 vacuum Raptors are missing, will it be too nose heavy (lawn dart stable) for the front fins to pull it up into horizontal full stall mode?

I have seen Space X use blocks of mass on top of the prototypes to simulate nose cone mass, do they need mass in the rear to simulate a full engine assembly?

Or will the range of motion of the front and back fins be enough to compensate for the changes in CG?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ SN5 & SN6 used mass simulator, or balancing weight (rolls of stainless steel) to simulate the missing nosecone and probably set center of gravity where it should be positioned during 150m hops. Maybe SN8 will have something similar in its skirt. $\endgroup$ – qq jkztd Nov 2 '20 at 14:40
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, indeed. All good luck to their flight. $\endgroup$ – Robert DiGiovanni Nov 2 '20 at 15:10

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