SpaceX Starship SN9 conducts static fire test in Boca Chica
SpaceX looks ready to launch and land the Starship Serial Number 9 (SN9) after wrapping up a static fire test on Friday, January 22. The latest iteration of the spacecraft prototype is due to launch on a 6.2 to 7.8 mile (10 to 12.5km) suborbital flight or hop. SpaceX fans have been dying to see the SN9 fly after the spectacular crash landing of the previous test model, SN8, in December last year.
One SpaceX fan tweeted: “Want to see Starship get a successful test of launch and land (fingers crossed SN9 can that in this week).
“Always room for a Falcon 9 launch though in between the SS development flights.”
Another person said: “I’ve been waiting for @SpaceX to launch SN9 with such high emotions that I had a dream they finally did it last night.”
US authorities have issued flight restrictions around SpaceX’s facilities in Boca Chica, South Texas, suggesting a launch could be imminent.
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What time is the SpaceX launch?
Although SpaceX has not announced or confirmed a launch date, Starship could launch as early as Monday, January 25.
With Friday’s static fire tests out of the way, Texas authorities have been notified of launch plans at Boca Chica.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued three note to airmen (NOTAMs) which designate a no-flight zone around Boca Chica Beach and Brownsville.
The NOTAMs are in effect between 2pm and 11.59pm GMT (8am and 6.59pm CST) on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
The restrictions cite “space operations” and have been issued “to provide a safe environment for rocket launch and recovery”.
The US Coast Guard has also been informed “there will be a launch” from the SpaceX facility “during the daylight hours” between Monday and Wednesday.
Mariners have been advised not to enter a hazard area in the Gulf of Mexico during launch.
Dangers associated with the launch include debris, gaseous leaks, fires and blast pressure.
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SpaceX Starship explodes whilst attempting to land during test
SpaceX fans have been dying to see the SN9 take to the skies after multiple delays and scant news of a launch date in the last two weeks.
On January 13, SpaceX carried out three static fire tests of the rocket’s three Raptor engines.
Static fires are a form of wet rehearsal where the rocket’s engines are briefly ignited while the rocket is tethered to the ground.
The tests took their toll on the 160ft-tall (50m) spacecraft with SpaceX chief Elon Musk, 49, announcing two of the engines were needed repairs.
Tensions are now running high with attention firmly focused on the Boca Chica launch pad.
A SpaceX fan tweeted: “Oh this is exciting… We are inching closer to another spectacular flight of a Starship prototype!!! Can’t wait!!! #Starship #SN9 #SpaceX”
Another person said: “I kinda wanna see SN9 explode on the landing pad again, not gonna lie.”
Starship is being developed as a multi-planetary launch vehicle that will one day serve missions to the Moon and Mars.
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