SpaceX implementing Hot Staging to Starship Super Heavy Interstage
SpaceX is implementing a new technique called "hot staging" to enhance the performance of its Starship spacecraft.
Elon Musk announced the change, stating that the upper stage of Starship will ignite its engines while still attached to the Super Heavy booster. This approach, commonly used in Russian launch vehicles, including the N1 Lunar Rocket, allows for a more efficient separation between the stages. By igniting the engines of the upper stage before detachment, SpaceX can avoid the loss of thrust experienced during traditional stage separation. The switch to hot staging is expected to increase the payload-to-orbit capacity of Starship by approximately 10%. To accommodate this technique, SpaceX is modifying the Super Heavy booster with additional vents and shielding to facilitate the exhaust from the upper stage. Musk also mentioned numerous other changes to the vehicle, including upgrades to the Raptor engines. While no specific launch date was provided, Musk expressed increased confidence in the success of the next flight, estimating a probability of around 60% for reaching orbit. Musk declined to comment on recent rumors of a potential initial public offering (IPO) for SpaceX's Starlink satellite broadband business, citing legal restrictions on discussing future public offerings.