Credit: SpaceX

Update: As early as Tuesday, February 2, the SpaceX team will attempt a high-altitude flight test of Starship serial number 9 (SN9) – the second high-altitude suborbital flight test of a Starship prototype from their site in Cameron County, Texas.

According to a new posting from Starship Stalker: “Launch Today – FAA approval, evacuation notice, road closure,” and a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is in place.

SN10 joins SN9 at Texas launch complex.
Credit: SpaceX

This test flight has been delayed by the FAA, with that agency noting that Elon Musk’s SpaceX violated its launch license in an earlier, explosive Starship test, triggering an FAA probe and extra scrutiny.

Flight overview

Meanwhile, SpaceX has issued this overview of the upcoming flight:

SN8 flight.
Credit: SpaceX

“Similar to the high-altitude flight test of Starship serial number 8 (SN8), SN9 will be powered through ascent by three Raptor engines, each shutting down in sequence prior to the vehicle reaching apogee – approximately [6 miles]10 kilometers in altitude.”

“SN9 will perform a propellant transition to the internal header tanks, which hold landing propellant, before reorienting itself for reentry and a controlled aerodynamic descent.”

Aerodynamic control

“The Starship prototype will descend under active aerodynamic control, accomplished by independent movement of two forward and two aft flaps on the vehicle. All four flaps are actuated by an onboard flight computer to control Starship’s attitude during flight and enable precise landing at the intended location. SN9’s Raptor engines will then reignite as the vehicle attempts a landing flip maneuver immediately before touching down on the landing pad adjacent to the launch mount.”

SN8 flight.
Credit: SpaceX

“A controlled aerodynamic descent with body flaps and vertical landing capability, combined with in-space refilling, are critical to landing Starship at destinations across the solar system where prepared surfaces or runways do not exist, and returning to Earth. This capability will enable a fully reusable transportation system designed to carry both crew and cargo on long-duration, interplanetary flights and help humanity return to the Moon, and travel to Mars and beyond.”

Live feed

There will be a SpaceX live feed of the flight test available that will start a few minutes prior to liftoff.

Given the dynamic schedule of development testing, stay tuned to SpaceX and other social media channels for updates as the rocket team moves toward SpaceX’s second high-altitude flight test of Starship.

Go to:

https://www.spacex.com/vehicles/starship/

To watch the Starship Stalker live video of launch preparations, go to:

https://www.starshipstalker.com/live

Also, go to this informative article from The Verge, written by Joey Roulette, detailing the FAA issues that SpaceX encountered:

https://www.theverge.com/2021/1/29/22256657/spacex-launch-violation-explosive-starship-faa-investigation-elon-musk?fbclid=IwAR1w7Od98FJV3rU2-BXoIvBj3Bqyyk9oGdYWX7YOaKS6-5TF5gdUl6u5MV8

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