Elon Musk and SpaceX aim to launch SN15 Mars prototype rocket on Tuesday
Tuesday is the last target date for the launch of the last Starship ship.
After four successesit all ended with dramatic explosions during the landing phase, Elon’s Musk’s space company switching to SN15, a new version of its interplanetary vehicle.
SpaceX has performed high-altitude test flights of the SN8 to SN11 prototypes and has long planned to incorporate what Musk called “major upgrades” into SN15. Now the company is skipping the SN12, SN13 and SN14, which were never fully assembled, and working on a flight of SN15.
Musk said SN15 “has hundreds of design improvements across structures, avionics / software, and engine,” including, hopefully, upgrades to cover some of the issues that have kept SpaceX from being released. block the landing so far without an unforeseen quick disassembly.
SN15 has undergone some initial testing, and Musk originally tweeted that the goal was to launch last month, but that goal has continued to slide. Last Thursday, the FAA said it had approved a launch license covering SN15, SN16 and SN17, but currently it looks like we’ll have to wait until at least Tuesday to see it fly, based on current airspace closures, roads and beaches around the Boca. Chica, Texas, launch facility.
SN15 can launch at any time (or not at all) in approved windows once all the required closings and permissions are in place. We usually have no clear idea of when it will take off until less than an hour before takeoff looks set to happen. (Even then, false starts are common.)
So for now, keep your fingers crossed to see SN15 fly (and land!). We’ll post a live stream of the launch here once it’s available.
We’ll update this article at least daily as things change, and for more incremental updates, log on to my Twitter feed @EricCMack.
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.