Elon Musk’s latest three next-gen rockets have all metafter their first high altitude test flights. The latest prototype, SN11, is on the launch pad at the SpaceX Starship development facility in Boca Chica, Texas, and could fly as early as Tuesday.
SpaceX was considering a possible launch on Monday, but Musk tweeted, “The FAA inspector couldn’t reach Starbase in time for launch today. Postponed until tomorrow at the earliest. »Starbase is the . The Federal Aviation Administration decides .
It’s the big rocket that Musk promised that will eventually deliver humans to the Moon, Mars, and possibly beyond by the end of this decade.
The requirement that a safety inspector be physically present is a new addition to the launch license for the Boca Chica site, part of the fallout from an apparent confusion in December that saw.
“SpaceX must provide sufficient advance notice of its launch schedule to allow an FAA safety inspector to travel to Boca Chica,” the agency said in an emailed statement Monday after Musk’s tweet announcing the last delay.
The SN series prototypes are sleek three-engine versions of the spacecraft. SN8, SN9 and SN10 all had successful high altitude flights followed by progressively softer but still too hard landings. SN8 and SN9 both exploded on impact, while the SN10 exploded on the airstrip several minutes after a hard touchdown.
The hope is that SN11 may be the first of its kind to survive a flight and a landing.
The prototype underwent two test fires last week, when SpaceX announced that a flight attempt could take place as early as last Friday, but the flight was canceled for the day to allow more time for technical checks and local roads. have been reopened.
Road, beach and airspace closures are now in place or a potential launch attempt Tuesday between 5 a.m. and 1 p.m. PT (7 a.m. and 3 p.m. CST). However, as always, the test flight schedule is subject to change at any time.
Also keep in mind that there is no fixed time for the attempted theft within the aforementioned window. Basically the Boca Chica team have a pre-launch checklist to work on and when all items have been checked SN11 will be refueled for the flight.
Once refueling begins, the launch is typically around 30-45 minutes. A SpaceX livestream of the test flight is expected to begin about five minutes before takeoff, and we’ll incorporate that feed here. Keep an eye on my Twitter feed @ericcmack for incremental updates.
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