The vehicle is ready, the paperwork is in order, and the weather conditions in Southern Texas on Tuesday should be pretty good. All this shows that SpaceX will try to launch its latest Starship prototype SN1
Local officials have approved road closures from noon on Tuesday (UTC 17:00) to 8 pm local time (01:00 UTC on Wednesday). The closing time coincides with the sunset time of the launch site, and the launch time will be shortly after 8pm. In addition, in its daily operations plan, the Federal Aviation Administration (Federal Aviation Administration) confirmed that the launch is scheduled for Tuesday.
This is an important task for SpaceX. Since December, SpaceX has lost four full-size starship prototypes-SN8, SN9, SN10, and SN11 as part of this experimental testing activity. Only one of the three vehicles made a soft landing SN10 in early March, but due to fuel line problems, it exploded about 10 minutes after landing.
However, engineers have learned lessons from these failures. Company founder Elon Musk said that SpaceX has upgraded the current starship prototype “hundreds of times” on the launch pad. These include design improvements to the aircraft structure, onboard flight computer and flight software.
The goal of SN15 and its predecessor is to prove its ability to fly about 10 kilometers and land successfully. If this attempt fails, the company has stacked the SN16 in an elevated building just a few kilometers from the launch site, and the prototype is almost ready.
After proving the ability to land a starship after flying at a high altitude, the next major goal will be to raise the aircraft to orbit. Therefore, Musk said that the next major upgrade to the starship will be the SN20, which will have a separation system and a heat shield designed to withstand the heat from Earth’s orbit.
Even when the Starship prototype was built at its South Texas factory under the tent, SpaceX engineers were still assembling a super-heavy booster prototype in parallel to test its launch capabilities. This rocket will be needed to lift the starship into orbit.
SpaceX should provide a webcast about the launch later this afternoon; we will embed it below within a few minutes before launch. At the same time, NASA Spaceflight and LabPadre are continuously monitoring to monitor the progress of today’s launch attempts.