SpaceX is expected to attempt the last major flight test of its Starship rocket on Tuesday. The next-generation spacecraft was slated to launch from SpaceX’s Starbase facility in Boca Chica, Texas on Friday, but cleaned it up for unknown reasons.
The Starship SN15’s high altitude flight test follows four previous attempts which all resulted in massive explosions. SpaceX boss Elon Musk said previous issues with the rocket’s Raptor engines were fixed “six ways before Sunday,” although if he fails to land cleanly, there are more prototypes. of Starship currently in development.
The airspace clearance has been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), road closures are in place with Cameron County, and maritime hazard advisories have been issued. The test can take place anytime between 12:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. local time (6:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m. BST) on Tuesday, while a backup launch window is also in place for Wednesday.
A live stream of the launch will be posted here as it becomes available.
Launch comes after Musk says ‘we need bigger, more advanced rockets’ for asteroid threat
Today’s launch comes just days after a week-long exercise, undertaken by NASA, which concluded that humanity did not have the technology to be able to stop a massive asteroid causing untold damage to the planet.
In a tweet, Mr Musk said the results showed “One of the many reasons we need bigger, more advanced rockets!”
He didn’t mention SpaceX in general or Starship in particular, but he spoke on several occasions about the importance of rockets to humanity.
Andrew GriffinMay 4, 2021 2:27 PM
Cameron County issues road closure notices
Cameron County updated its website overnight to include road closure notices for today and tomorrow.
The good news is a big eight hour launch window today. The bad news is that it will be late, especially for anyone in Europe.
The window opens at noon local time, which is 7:00 p.m. BST. SpaceX then has until 8 p.m. local time to take off the Starship SN15.
SpaceX left it late in previous high-altitude flight tests of its prototype spacecraft, one of which took place with less than an hour in the launch window. We have at least eight hours to wait to find out.
Anthony CuthbertsonMay 4, 2021 9:15 p.m.
Starship SN15 flight scheduled for Tuesday
There will be no flight test of the Starship SN15 today, following the removal of the Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) for Monday.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration website, the TFRs are in place for Tuesday and Wednesday.
Cameron County has yet to update its website with road closure notices, but these may be posted at the last minute.
Anthony CuthbertsonMay 3, 2021 9:36 AM
SpaceX issues evacuation advisory
Exceptionally for a weekend, SpaceX issued an evacuation alert notice for today. He warns that “space flight activities” between 5 am and 7 pm could pose a danger to local residents of the village of Boca Chica.
For example, a malfunction of any kind could create an “overpressure event” which would result in broken windows. This is the same wording that was used in a warning notice ahead of a static fire test of the Starship SN15 earlier this week.
There are currently no road closures around the Starbase facility in Boca Chica, which suggests that the ongoing tests are not flight tests.
We’ll let you know if that changes, but as it is, we expect another launch attempt on Monday.
Anthony CuthbertsonMay 1, 2021 12:14 p.m.
Roads reopen around SpaceX’s Starbase facility as Starship SN15 launch is cleaned up
Cameron County just updated its website, reversing the road closures that were in place today.
No reason has been given, and there has been no official word from SpaceX, but it does indicate that today’s Starship SN15 launch is off.
Cameron County is not allowing launches over the weekend, so the next opportunity will likely be Monday.
We’ll bring you updates if the situation changes, but if not, we’ll be back on Monday. Thank you for joining us, and I hope to see you soon!
Anthony Cuthbertson30 avril 2021 18:58
The launch of the Starship SN15 has been cleaned up.
Anthony Cuthbertson30 avril 2021 18:48
How the Starship SN15 launch should go
All four high-altitude flight tests of the Starship spacecraft resulted in explosions, with only one – Starship SN10 – having managed to stick on landing (before detonating on the landing pad eight minutes later).
Tests take about six minutes from takeoff to landing, and according to SpaceX Starship is expected to be “powered by three Raptor engines, each stopping in sequence before the vehicle reaches climax – about 10 miles above sea level.” “
The Starship SN15 should then perform “a propulsive transition to the internal collecting tanks, which retain the landing thruster, before reorienting itself for a reentry and a controlled aerodynamic descent”.
This looks like a belly flop in practice, and should be followed by a complex landing flip maneuver powered by one or two of the Raptor engines that will bring the craft steadily to the ground.
Hopefully it won’t look like this:
Anthony Cuthbertson30 avril 2021 18:21
SpaceX has yet to evacuate the village
One of the main fundamentals of the launch is the evacuation of the village of Boca Chica, which has yet to take place.
These can be issued very late and are necessary to protect residents from falling debris or even shattered glass caused by explosions.
The last factor that could hold back today’s attempt is the weather. It seems very overcast at the moment and there is a storm front not too far away.
Poor visibility isn’t enough to curb the launch – as evidenced by the fog-shrouded Starship SN11 test – but lightning or strong wind and rain could jeopardize launch plans.
It is currently predicted to be dry over Boca Chica, TX for the next six hours, but that could change. Here is the current weather radar:
Anthony Cuthbertson30 avril 2021 17:36
Statut du Starship SN15
There are many variables that must line up for a Starship flight test to take place.
These include clearing airspace and approving flights with the FAA, local road closures in place with Cameron County, evacuating the nearby village of Boca Chica, a maritime hazard notice posted – as well as all technical preparations for the rocket itself.
It is for this reason that SpaceX actually only publishes its attempted launch times in a few minutes, but we know it could be anytime between now and 5 p.m. local time (11 p.m. BST), depending on the closures. of roads in place.
The FAA also cleared the launch, issuing a statement yesterday. The good news is that it appears to cover the launches of Starship SN16 and Starship SN17. Here’s what the agency said:
Anthony Cuthbertson30 avril 2021 16:38
Here we go again…
Hello and welcome to The Independent live coverage of SpaceX’s latest attempt to launch and land a Starship rocket.
It’s been a whole month since the last major test, but hopefully it will be worth the wait.