Next high-flying SpaceX Starship test could blast off as soon as Tuesday – CNET

starshipmuskdec2020

This is just the nose Starship SN8.


Elon Musk

Just in time to distract from the ongoing chaos in Washington, DC, SpaceX is working toward another high-altitude test flight of its next-generation spaceflight system.

The latest prototype of Elon Musk’s Starship, which is identified by the serial number SN9, underwent a brief test firing of its Raptor engines at the company’s Boca Chica, Texas, development facility on Wednesday, Jan. 6. The test is part of a series of checks, which may include another static fire, leading up to a launch that could come as soon as Tuesday.

Airspace restrictions are in place around Boca Chica for Wednesday and Thursday as well. Earlier restrictions in place for Friday, Jan. 8, Sunday, Jan. 10 and Monday, Jan. 11 have been cancelled.

SpaceX has been testing and iterating 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 get lucky and see the sequel to the ordeal of SN8 on Tuesday, but scrubs and delays have been part of the routine in Starship’s development process, so it seems equally likely we may have to wait until later in the week or even later in the month.

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

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