Home Science SpaceX Starship launch: Will Starship SN15 launch this week?

SpaceX Starship launch: Will Starship SN15 launch this week?


The catastrophic first flight of the Starship Serial Number 11 (SN11) on March 26 has soured the mood of SpaceX enthusiasts worldwide. After the Starship SN8, SN9 and SN10 were all blown to smithereens at SpaceX’s Boca Chica facility in South Texas, many thought SN11 would be the first to touch down in one piece. This was not the case, unfortunately, and the SN11 followed in the footsteps of its predecessors when it came crashing into the launch pad under a dense cover of fog.

But while debris and rocket parts rained over the SpaceX facility, tech mogul Elon Musk was already making plans for the next launch.

He took to Twitter just a few days after the crash to assure his followers SN15 would soon roll out onto the launch pad for another flight and landing attempt.

The SpaceX chief tweeted: “SN15 rolls to launch pad in a few days.

“It has hundreds of design improvements across structures, avionics/software and engine.

“Hopefully, one of those improvements covers this problem. If not, then retrofit will add a few more days.”

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Will SpaceX’s Starship SN15 launch this week?

SN15’s launch date will depend on a number of factors, including an official investigation into the crash landing.

SpaceX has been facing mounting pressure from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ever since the SN8 exploded in December last year and SN11’s doomed flight could throw another spanner in the works.

The FAA will oversee SpaceX’s investigation into the crash before approving another test flight.

The regulatory body’s rules stipulate an FAA agent has to be present for every launch – a requirement that caused delays in the past.

An FAA spokesperson said: “The vehicle experienced an anomaly during the landing phase of the flight resulting in loss of the vehicle.

SpaceX will conduct pressurisation tests and pump the rocket full of liquid nitrogen to check for leaks.

At least one static fire will also be conducted to test the SN15’s three Raptor engines.

During a static fire, the engines are briefly ignited at full throttle but the rocket remains firmly tethered to the ground.

Road closures announced on the Cameron County website are a good indicator of incoming tests and launches.

All in all, it seems unlikely SN15 will launch before the week is over.

Starship is SpaceX’s next-generation rocket that could one day fly humans to Mars.

The spacecraft is the second stage of a fully reusable system collectively known as Starship.

The rocket will launch from Earth atop the Super Heavy booster stage on flights to the Moon, Mars and possibly beyond.

Together, the Starship system will stand more than 390ft tall and, according to SpaceX, will be the “world’s most powerful launch vehicle ever developed”.


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