SpaceX fans worldwide are anxiously waiting for the first test flight of the Starship Serial Number 15 (SN15). The prototype rocket is due to launch later this evening (UK time) from SpaceX’s Boca Chica facility in South Texas. Weather permitting, SpaceX’s eight-hour launch window will open at 6pm BST (12pm CDT) and close in the wee morning hours on Saturday.
SN15, which is the company’s fourth full-scale Starship prototype to fly, will soar to an altitude of at least 32,000ft (10km).
Elon Musk and co will then attempt to set the rocket back down on the launch pad – a manoeuvre that has so far resulted in four catastrophic explosions.
Starship SN11 was the last rocket to be blown up when it launched on March 30 but failed to stick the landing.
But even with a poor launch record so far, fans are keeping their fingers crossed SN15 will ace today’s test.
Mr Musk revealed earlier this year SN15 contains “hundreds of design improvements”, compared to its predecessors.
SpaceX: Camera feed freezes upon Starship SN11 landing
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The upgrades are the main reason SpaceX has scrapped the Starship SN12, SN12 and SN13, instead opting to go straight to the SN15.
One hopeful fan tweeted: “If SN15 doesn’t land, I’ll explode.”
Another person said: “@elonmusk you must land SN15 on Star Wars Day. May the 4th be with you!”
And a third person said: “Starting the #SN15 launch day with the 1967 Classic film “Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun”.
“This is the film Starship makes me think of every time they fly one.
“Really hoping SN15 and those Raptors land today to prove the concept of the flip.”
How to watch the Starship SN15 launch today:
You can watch the Starship launch with Tim Dodd of Everyday Astronaut in the embedded video player above.
The broadcast is scheduled to kick off at 6pm BST (12pm CDT), although the time might change depending on the circumstances.
Mr Dodd tweeted: “We’ll be going LIVE, Tuesday May 4 at noon central [5pm UTC] to see if @SpaceX can nail the test flight of their #SN15 #Starship prototype!!!
“Hopefully this is the one!!! I can’t wait!”
SpaceX will host its own broadcast later today, with the stream shared on the company’s website and YouTube channel.
SpaceX streams usually kick-off at the last minute and wrap up shortly after the mission ends.
You can also check out the team behind NASASpaceflight who will host their own stream with live commentary today.
NASASpaceflight live stream producer Michael Baylor tweeted: “There could be a Starship SN15 flight test attempt on Tuesday, although still awaiting firm confirmation.
“If things are still looking promising in the morning, we will go live!”
If the SN15’s launch is scuppered today, a backup launch window will open on Wednesday.
The backup will be open in the same timeframe – 6pm to 2am BST (12pm to 8pm CDT).
Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino Jr said: “Should SpaceX not complete its planned space flight activities on May 4, 2021, then SpaceX may use the alternate date to complete its test launch activities.”
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