BOCA CHICA, TEXAS – Watch SpaceX‘ live coverage of the first flight test of a fully integrated Starship and Super Heavy rocket from Starbase in Texas. The Starship SN24 spacecraft is a fully reusable transportation system designed to carry both crew and cargo to Earth orbit, help humanity return to the Moon and travel to Mars and beyond. SpaceX has a 150-minute window to launch Starship and is targeting the launch as soon as Monday, April 17 at 9:20 a.m. EDT (13:20 GMT/8:20 a.m. CDT). SpaceX’ live coverage on YouTube will start at 8:35 a.m. EDT (12:35 GMT), 45 minutes before liftoff.
According to SpaceX, with a test such as this, success is measured by how much there can be learned, which will inform and improve the probability of success in the future as SpaceX rapidly advances development of Starship.
Starship Flight Tests
To date, the SpaceX team has completed multiple sub-orbital flight tests of Starship’s upper stage from Starbase, successfully demonstrating an unprecedented approach to controlled flight. These flight tests helped validate the vehicle’s design, proving Starship can fly through the subsonic phase of entry before re-lighting its engines and flipping itself to a vertical configuration for landing.
In addition to the testing of Starship’s upper stage, the team has conducted numerous tests of the Super Heavy rocket, which include the increasingly complex static fires that led to a full-duration 31 Raptor engine test – the largest number of simultaneous rocket engine ignitions in history.
Launch and Catch Tower
The team has also constructed the world’s tallest rocket launch and catch tower. At 146 meters, or nearly 500 feet tall, the launch and catch tower is designed to support vehicle integration, launch, and catch of the Super Heavy rocket booster.
For the first flight test, the team will not attempt a vertical landing of Starship or a catch of the Super Heavy booster.
Starbase, formerly known as SpaceX South Texas Launch Site and also known as Launch Base Boca Chica, is a privately owned launch site and rocket factory under construction near Boca Chica, Cameron County, Texas. It is the location where the Starship rockets of the American aerospace company SpaceX are built, tested and broken down.
☆ UPDATE: SpaceX has postponed the launch of Starship
SpaceX has postponed the launch attempt, just 10 minutes before liftoff, CNBC reports.
John Insprucker – Principal Integration Engineer at SpaceX – said the flight director decided “to stop the launch for today” due to an issue with the pressurization system in the Super Heavy booster.
Although SpaceX scrubbed the launch attempt, it continued the countdown until about the 10-second mark to get more data about loading the rocket with propellant – a so called “wet dress rehearsal.”
Elon Musk said in a tweet that a pressure valve “appears to be frozen.”
“We unfortunately had a hold on the countdown today,” Kate Tice – SpaceX Quality Systems Engineering Manager and Broadcast Host – said. “We are expecting a minimum of 48 hours in order to recycle,” she added.
SpaceX is targeting as soon as Thursday, April 20 for the first flight test of Starship and Super Heavy rocket from Starbase in Texas. The 62 minute launch window opens at 8:28 a.m. CT and closes at 9:30 a.m. CT.
Head image: SpaceX on YouTube
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