SpaceX Starship SN9 could take flight as soon as today

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Nose cone of SpaceX Starship SN8

This is the nose of Starship SN8.

Elon Musk

The latest SpaceX Starship prototype could finally get off the ground Monday from Elon Musk’s rocket development facility on the Texas Gulf coast.

Musk’s new Mars rocket iteration, which is identified by the serial number SN9, underwent a series of test fires and had a few of its engines swapped out earlier this month in preparation for a high-altitude test flight.

Now closures of local roads and airspace around the Boca Chica, Texas, facility indicate we could see a launch attempt as early as later Monday, although it seems weather may be a little more favorable Tuesday or later in the week.

SpaceX has been testing and tweaking 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 still get lucky and see the sequel to the ordeal of SN8 Monday, but scrubs and delays have been part of the routine in Starship’s development process. Heck, I I’ve already updated this post several times.

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


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