SpaceX test of Mars-bound Starship SN11 scrubbed

SpaceX has scrubbed Friday’s flight test of its Mars-bound Starship craft.

Starship SN11 was already on the launchpad at the firm’s Boca Chica facility in Texas and had completed a static fire test when the 10km launch attempt was cancelled.

The test attempt came just three months after the first high-altitude flight of a Starship craft, with launches of SN8, SN9 and SN10 all ending in an explosion.

A successful launch and landing today would have been a huge step towards Elon Musk’s ambition of colonising Mars with hundreds of Starships.

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SpaceX is expected to reattempt the test next week.

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Hello and welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of SpaceX’s Starship SN11 flight test.

It is the fourth major high-altitude jaunt for the Mars-bound craft, with all three previous attempts ending in a fiery explosion.

There have been numerous delays to the latest launch but now the weather is clear, local roads are closed, FAA clearance has been sought, and fingers are crossed that today is the day.

Anthony Cuthbertson26 March 2021 13:121616765471

Before today’s launch attempt SpaceX needed to complete a final static fire test, which took place very early this morning.

There’s 11 hours left in this launch window now for SpaceX to complete the flight test. Times listed on Cameron County’s road closure notice are local time (12pm-12.30am Sat GMT).

(Cameron County)

Anthony Cuthbertson26 March 2021 13:311616766256

The Starship SN11 test comes just over three weeks after the last SN10 launch and landing. It proved a massive success and achieved what its predecessors could not by actually landing, however roughly eight minutes later it performed a rapid unscheduled disassembly.

You can read the full report on that test here:

What now for Starship after latest test explosion?

SN11 is already waiting in the wings after SN10’s fiery demise, as Musk continues relentless pursuit of creating a ‘space-faring civilisation and a multi-planet species’

Anthony Cuthbertson26 March 2021 13:441616766354

Starship SN11 is currently venting following the static fire test, which is a good sign that things are progressing towards a flight test today.

Anthony Cuthbertson26 March 2021 13:451616768549

Boca Chica Village on standby for evacuation.

Anthony Cuthbertson26 March 2021 14:221616770360

The launchpad appears to have reopened, with a train of at least seven vehicles heading towards it. SpaceX engineers will do some checks following the static fire test and then prepare for a launch attempt.

Anthony Cuthbertson26 March 2021 14:521616771450

Here’s how Starship SN11’s static fire test looked earlier in case you missed it.

Anthony Cuthbertson26 March 2021 15:101616772746

Boca Chica Village residents have received evacuation orders for midday, which is in 1.5 hours. We’re moving closer.

Anthony Cuthbertson26 March 2021 15:321616776238

With approval from the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) in place, airspace is cleared ahead of launch.

Before that, RGV Aerial Photography managed to capture some HD birds-eye footage of the launch sight, complete with a solar farm, a sneak peak of Starship SN15, and a lot of construction work.

Anthony Cuthbertson26 March 2021 16:301616778206

Boca Chica Village evacuation is officially underway. There is no word from SpaceX on when to expect the launch to take place, with all three previous tests receiving no prior warning until around 10 minutes before they took place when the official stream went live.

There is also no public timeline for Starship’s development, though we have an idea of what to expect through various statements put out by SpaceX and comments from Elon Musk:

March 2021: Starship SN11 high-altitude flight test.

July 2021: Starship SN20 or earlier will perform the first ever orbital flight with a super heavy booster attached.

2022: Starship enters production, with Elon Musk hoping to produce up to 100 per year and a fleet size of 1,000+ in the early 2030s.

2023: First commercial flight of Starship. Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maeawa bought the first ticket and plans to bring eight members of the public with him on the trip around the moon.

2024: First uncrewed Starship mission to Mars.

2026: First ever crewed Starship mission to Mars.

2050: First self-sustaining colony established on Mars, transforming humanity into a multi-planetary species.

Anthony Cuthbertson26 March 2021 17:03OlderNewer


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