SpaceX Brings Starship to Launch Pad Five Days After Last Flight Test

To update: Less than five days after Starship serial number 10 (SN10) briefly became the first prototype to launch and land in one piece, SpaceX has carried its successor, Starship SN11, from the factory to the launch pad.

The goal: complete cryogenic and static fire tests within the next 4-7 days to clear the way for another Starship launch next week. Already equipped with three Raptor engines, SN11 may have a limited chance of hitting SpaceX’s ambitious scheduling goals, but experiences from Starships SN8, SN9, and SN10 suggest that a launch sometime before the end of March is one more expectation. reasonable. Stay tuned for updates as SpaceX prepares to install Starship SN11 on the launch pad and put its cryogenic test test on the schedule. reports that SpaceX, already scheduled to transport a new spacecraft to the launch pad on Monday, March 8, wants that prototype ready to launch next week.

According to the same report, SpaceX, which has already installed three Raptor engines on Starship serial number 11 (SN11), aims to more or less conclude all qualification tests by the end of the week. It is no different from the test campaigns that all other airworthy starships had to go through before being cleared for launch, that process includes, at a minimum, a good cryogenic test run and a wet general test (WDR). combined and static fire.

Starship SN11 has been practically complete for several weeks; waiting for SN10 to deliver the torch. Now that moment has come. (NASASpaceflight – bocachicagal)

Excluding Starhopper, of the five Starship prototypes that have taken flight, SpaceX has consistently managed to speed up the process of preparing each vehicle for flight, but the average time from launch to takeoff is still more than a month. In other words, even taking into account the overall improvements SpaceX appears to make between tests, preparing the Starship SN11 for flight within a week or two of the prototype arriving on the launch pad would be a factor of two to five faster than any previous test. Bell.

The excellent data recently collected by a new Twitter account (@BocaCharts) exemplifies both the continuous improvement of SpaceX and the improbability that SN11 will be ready for flight next week.

Still, it is not entirely impossible. If SpaceX can borrow from the more efficient Starship launches and the test campaigns are completed and combine them all with some unspecified new efficiencies, it is reasonable to conclude that Starship SN11 could be ready to fly near the end of next week (around the end of next week). March, 19). . More specifically, SpaceX would have to complete a successful static shot on the first attempt within a week of SN11’s scheduled March 8 launch, followed by a quick two- or three-day response time for a launch attempt.

While it’s not impossible, it’s safe to say that such a scenario is unlikely. However, assuming SpaceX continues to find ways to speed up pre-flight processing as it has with SN8, SN9, and SN10, it is reasonable to assume that Starship SN11 could be ready for a maiden launch attempt as early as the last week of March. .

All of the above ignores the possibility that SpaceX may choose to physically modify Starship SN11 to mitigate the possibility that some or all aspects of the Starship SN10 crash landing and subsequent explosion will be repeated. If that’s the plan, those changes will need to be made to the launch site after Starship SN11’s scheduled launch for Monday, March 8.

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