SpaceX scrubbed the latest Starship test, which was scheduled to launch from the Starbase facility in Texas on Friday, but Elon Musk’s company appears to be aiming for either Tuesday or Wednesday.
Starship SN15’s altitude flight tests follow four previous attempts, all of which ended in massive explosions.
Sir. Musk said previous problems with the rocket’s Raptor engines have been resolved “six ways to Sunday,” but if it does not land clean, there are several Starship prototypes currently under development.
Airspace clearance was approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), roadblocks were in place with Cameron County, and sea hazard notices had been issued.
Just before 1
SpaceX has not yet given an official reason to cancel the Starship launch. Another attempt is expected to take place on Monday.
Cameron County publishes roadblock notices
Cameron County has updated its website overnight to include roadblock notices today and tomorrow.
The good news is, it’s a big eight-hour launch window today. The not so good news is that it will be late, especially for everyone in Europe.
The window opens at 12.00 local time, kl. 19.00 BST. SpaceX then has until kl. 20 local time to get Starship SN15 off the ground.
SpaceX has left it late before in previous high-altitude flight tests of its Starship prototypes, where one takes place with less than an hour left in the launch window. We have at least eight hours to wait to find out.
Anthony Cuthbertson4 May 2021 09:15
Starship SN15 flight is expected on Tuesday
There will be no Starship SN15 flight test today after the temporary flight restriction (TFR) was removed on Monday.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration’s website, TFRs are in place Tuesday and Wednesday.
Cameron County has not yet updated its website with roadblock notifications, but these can be sent relatively last minute.
Anthony CuthbertsonMay 3, 2021 9:36 AM
SpaceX issues evacuation message
Unusually for a weekend, SpaceX has issued an evacuation notice for today. It warns that “space activities” between kl. 5 and 19 can pose a danger to local residents of Boca Chica Village.
For example, a malfunction of some kind can create an “overpressure event” that leads to broken windows. This is the same wording used in a warning message prior to a Starship SN15 static fire test earlier this week.
There are currently no roadblocks in place around the Starbase plant in Boca Chica, suggesting that whatever test is taking place is not a flight test.
We’ll tell you if this changes, but as it looks, we’re expecting a new launch attempt as early as Monday.
Anthony Cuthbertson1 May 2021 12:14
Roads reopen around SpaceX’s Starbase facility as Starship SN15 launches scrubbed
Cameron County has just updated its website and canceled the roadblocks that were in place today.
No reason has been given and there has been no official word from SpaceX, but it signals that today’s Starship SN15 launch has been turned off.
Cameron County does not allow launches over the weekend, so the next option is likely to be on Monday.
We will give you updates if the situation changes, but otherwise we will be back on Monday. Thank you for coming with us and hopefully see you then!
Anthony CuthbertsonApril 30, 2021 6:58 PM
Starship SN15 launched scrubbed.
Anthony CuthbertsonApril 30, 2021 6:48 PM
This is how the Starship SN15 launch should go
All four high-altitude flight tests of Starship craft have ended in explosions, where only one – Starship SN10 – actually manages to hold the landing (before it explodes on the landing plate eight minutes later).
The tests last about six minutes from take-off to landing, and according to SpaceX, the Starship must be “powered by the ascent of three Raptor engines, each shutting down in sequence before the vehicle reaches apoge – about 10 km in height.”
Starship SN15 must then perform “a transition to propellant to the internal cutting tables holding landing propellant before reorienting itself to re-entry and a controlled aerodynamic descent”.
This is in practice somewhat similar to a belly flop and must be followed by a complex landing flip maneuver driven by one or two of the Raptor engines that take the ship steadily to the ground.
Hopefully it does not look like this:
But instead more like this:
Anthony CuthbertsonApril 30, 2021 6:21 PM
SpaceX has not yet evacuated the village
One of the most important basic preconditions for the launch is the evacuation of Boca Chica Village, which has not yet happened.
These can be issued at very late notice and are necessary to protect the occupants from falling dirt or even broken windows caused by explosions.
The last factor that could potentially hold back today’s attempts is the weather. It looks very cloudy at the moment and there is a storm front not too far away.
Poor visibility is not enough to hold back the launch – as evidenced by the foggy Starship SN11 test – but lightning or strong winds and rain could ruin the plans for the launch.
It is currently expected to be dry over Boca Chica, Texas for the next six hours, but that may change. Here is the current weather radar:
Anthony CuthbertsonApril 30, 2021 5:36 PM
Starship SN15 status
There are many variables that must line up for a Starship flight test to move forward.
These include airspace clearance and flight approval with the FAA, local road closures in place with Cameron County, evacuation of nearby Boca Chica Village, a marine hazard notification – as well as all the technical preparations for the rocket itself.
It’s for this reason that SpaceX does not actually publish its launch trial times until it’s just a few minutes to walk, but we know it could be anytime between now and 17:00 local time (23:00 BST), as per Roadblocks in place.
The FAA also approved the launch and issued a statement yesterday. The good news is that it seems to cover launches for Starship SN16 and Starship SN17. Here is what the agency said:
Anthony CuthbertsonApril 30, 2021 4:38 PM
Here we go again…
Hi and welcome to The independent direct coverage of SpaceX’s latest attempt to launch and land a Starship rocket.
It’s been a whole month since the last big test, but hopefully it’s worth the wait.
Anthony CuthbertsonApril 30, 2021 4:04 PM