SpaceX Starship’s new SN10 rocket prototype could fly Thursday

SN10 and its predecessor SN9 on the launch pad in Boca Chica, Texas, in early February.


Just a few weeks after its predecessor SN9 flew high and then crashed On the Texas Gulf Coast, SN10 could try to improve that performance, and it could happen as soon as Thursday.

SN10 and SN9 are the latest versions of SpaceX and Elon Musk’s Starship prototypes that the company has been developing on view from its Boca Chica, Texas facility. Musk has promised the next generation rocket you will be able to take revolutionary point-to-point trips around the world, as well as to the moon, Mars and beyond.

In recent years, Starship prototypes have evolved from short, low-altitude “jumps” to high-altitude flight demonstrations. The last two serial numbers, SN8 and SN9, have flown at altitudes comparable to commercial aircraft, but then came for explosive and hard landings.

Musk had warned before testing that he expected such “unscheduled quick teardown” events to be part of the development process.

SpaceX SN8 flew high and landed hard.

SpaceX CNET video capture by Jackson Ryan

Following the SN8 flight and crash landing in December, the SN9’s follow-up flight suffered a series of delays throughout January. The SN8 was revealed to have been launched without all the required approvals from the Federal Aviation Administration, and something of a staring contest developed as the FAA took its time to grant the launch license for SN9.

In the end, the FAA was satisfied with the safety precautions for the test flight and the SN9 finally flew on February 2. After its fiery return to Earth that afternoon, the FAA announced that it would be investigating the “mishap” of the landing.

On Friday, February 19, an FAA spokesperson said by email that the agency closed the investigation into the landing accident, “clearing the way for the SN10 test flight pending FAA approval of license updates.” .

“The SN9 vehicle failed within the limits of the FAA safety analysis. Its failed landing and explosion did not endanger the public or property. All debris was contained within the designated hazard area. The FAA approved the final accident report, including probable causes and corrective actions. “

Starting Monday morning, Christian Davenport of the Washington Post was reporting The FAA launch license has been granted, paving the way for the SN10 to launch after a static litmus test. According to the latest temporary flight restrictions, the earliest we will see the SN10 launch is Thursday, with opportunities also on Friday and Saturday.

Check back here for updates and a live stream once SN10 is ready to fly.

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