SpaceX Starship SN10 launch: How to watch a prototype rocket fly today
The SpaceX Starship prototype rocket, SN10, fired its engines for a fraction of a second on Wednesday afternoon, but a problem with the launch procedure triggered an automatic abandonment. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said the rocket had a “slightly conservative high thrust limit” but the team would recycle the thruster and try again. The company now plans to try again around 2:30 p.m. PT and if you’d like to watch it live, we’ve got you covered.
These prototype tests are coming extremely quickly for SpaceX’s Starship program. Only a few weeks after its predecessoron the Texas Gulf Coast, SN10 will attempt to improve this performance. Keep checking here as we’ll be integrating live streaming for the next attempt. You can also keep an eye out for SpaceX’s website, which starts a feed about five minutes before the flight.
SN10 and SN9 are the latest versions of the SpaceX and Elon Musk spacecraft prototypes that the company has developed in full view at its facilities in Boca Chica, Texas (or Starbase,). Musk promised that the will be capable of revolutionary point-to-point trips around the world, , March and beyond.
In recent years, Starship prototypes have grown from small, low-altitude “hops” to high-altitude flight demonstrations. The last two serial numbers, SN8 and SN9, both flew at altitudes comparable to commercial jets, but then came for explosive hard landings.
Musk had warned ahead of testing that he expected such “unplanned quick teardown” events to be part of the development process.
Following SN8’s flight and forced landing in December, SN9’s follow-up flight suffered a series of delays throughout January. It was revealed that SN8 had been launched without all the required approvals from the Federal Aviation Administration, and some sort of start-up competition developed while the FAA was then taking its time to grant the launch license for SN9.
Ultimately, the FAA was satisfied with the safety precautions for the test flight, and SN9 finally flew on February 2. After his spirited return to Earth that afternoon, the FAA announced it would investigate “the crash” on landing.
On February 19, an FAA spokesperson said by email that the agency had closed the investigation into the landing accident, “paving the way for the SN10 test flight pending approval by the FAA license updates “.
âThe SN9 vehicle failed within the limits of the FAA’s safety analysis. Its unsuccessful landing and explosion did not endanger the public or property. All debris was contained within the designated danger zone. The FAA has approved the final incident report, including probable causes and corrective actions. “
As of February 22, Christian Davenport of the Washington Post reported that the FAA launch license was granted, paving the way for the launch of SN10 after a static fire test.
This test took place on Tuesday and SpaceX was not entirely happy with the results. One of SN10’s Raptor engines was replaced and another test firing was completed on Thursday. A Friday launch was ruled out, and over the weekend SpaceX also opted not to try on Monday.
Check back here for updates once SN10 is finally ready to fly (again). We’ll also include a live stream link here when it’s available.
To pursue CNET’s 2021 Space Calendar to stay up to date with all the latest space news this year. You can even add it to your own Google Calendar.