SpaceX Starship SN9 conducts static fire test in Boca Chica
SpaceX will launch and land the present iteration of the Starship spacecraft more than a month after SN8 crashed on the launch pad at Boca Chica, South Texas. News of SN9’s launch date has been scant in the last three weeks but after SpaceX completed a static fire test of SN9 Raptor engines on Friday, hopes are high the rocket could fly this week. The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and US Coast Guard have issued warnings about a planned launch between Monday and Wednesday.
Multiple delays and technical problems have haunted the SN9 in recent weeks and SpaceX fans are anxious to see the test rocket fly.
Two weeks ago, the launch schedule was delayed when SpaceX chief Elon Musk, 49, said on Twitter two of SN9’s engines needed replacing.
The rocket then attempted three static fire tests in rapid succession but all three attempts were aborted.
One SpaceX fan tweeted: “Hopefully the weather clears long enough for those three Raptor engines to roar aflame and #Starship SN9 to take flight! (Possibly even [gently] land.)”
How to watch the SpaceX launch live online:
SpaceX has not confirmed a launch date for SN9 but the rocket looks ready to go as early as Monday, January 25.
Flight restrictions have been issued for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and the US Coast Guard has issued a hazard zone extending from Boca Chica Beach on these same days.
The Starship prototype has also been fitted with a terminations system – a surefire sign the rocket will soon take to the skies.
Thanks to NASASpaceflight, you can watch the launch and landing of SN9 in the embedded video player above.
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The live stream will kick off today at 1pm GMT (7am CST) or one hour before SpaceX’s launch window opens.
The FAA has issued flight restrictions between 2pm and 11.59pm GMT (8am and 6.59pm CST) on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
The flight restrictions have been issued to “provide a safe environment for rocket launch and recovery”.
And although SN9 is expected to fly to a height between 6.2 and 7.8 miles (10 and 12.5km), the restrictions do not specify an altitude limit.
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NASASpaceflight said: “SpaceX is set to launch the Starship SN9 prototype to an altitude of approximately 12.5 kilometres.
“A launch attempt is possible between 12 pm and 6 pm Central time on Monday.
“However, as with testing, there is always a chance that teams could decide to stand down and try again on a different day.”
The launch has already seen a number of delays in recent weeks and there is no guarantee SN9 will fly today.
Follow Express.co.uk for the latest news on SpaceX and the Starship launch.
SpaceX is developing the Starship as a multi-planetary launch vehicle capable of reaching the Moon, Mars and possibly beyond.
The 160ft (50m) rocket will be completely reusable and launch on top of the 230ft (70m) tall Super Heavy booster.
Once completed, SpaceX claims the two-stage rocket will be the world’s most powerful heavy-lift vehicle.
Mr Musk hopes Starship will be the first rocket to put boots on Mars, leading to a full-blown human colony on the Red Planet.
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