SpaceX Starship SN9 could take flight as soon as Thursday


Nose cone of SpaceX Starship SN8

This is the nose of Starship SN8.

Elon Musk

The latest SpaceX Starship prototype could finally get off the ground Thursday from Elon Musk’s rocket development facility on the Texas Gulf coast.

Musk’s new Mars rocket iteration, which is identified by the serial number SN9, underwent a series of test fires and had a few of its engines swapped out earlier this month in preparation for a high-altitude test flight.

Plans to launch Monday were scrubbed due to high winds near the launch area. Canceled airspace and road closures around the Boca Chica, Texas, facility for Tuesday and Wednesday indicate we won’t see a launch attempt before Thursday.

Musk tweeted Tuesday that SpaceX is awaiting FAA review for the launch.

SpaceX has been testing and tweaking its Starship design over the past two years, beginning with a series of low-altitude “hops.” The first successful flight of significant altitude came last month when SN8 reached approximately the same altitude where commercial jets do much of their cruising.

The milestone was then followed by a fall back to Earth and a new landing maneuver that seemed to succeed in orienting the rocket, but alas SN8 came in too fast and met a spectacular and explosive end.

SpaceX SN8 flew high and landed hard.

SpaceX/CNET video capture by Jackson Ryan

We could still get lucky and see the sequel to the ordeal of SN8 Thursday, but scrubs and delays have been part of the routine in Starship’s development process. Heck, I I’ve already updated this post several times.

Whenever SN9 flies, we’ll be sure to carry the video here. Stay tuned.


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