SpaceX postponed the launch of the Starship prototype rocket just 1.3 seconds before launch


Last updated on December 8th, 2022 at 02:39 pm

SpaceX postponed the launch of the Starship prototype rocket just 1.3 seconds before launch

An important test launch of the Starship super-heavy rocket prototype was supposed to take place yesterday evening, but SpaceX’s automatics canceled the launch 1.3 seconds before launch due to a problem with the Raptor engine. The company then said that it had postponed the launch for a day and would likely try again today or tomorrow.


SpaceX shared a video of the flight cancellation on Twitter. The company also confirmed that the Starship prototype, serial number 8, or simply SN8, will aim to take off to an altitude of 12.5 km. Flying at such a high altitude represents the most ambitious test of the system since the rocket has previously “bounced” about 150 meters into the air a couple of times (we are talking about prototypes SN5 and SN6 earlier this year).

At the same time, the purpose of the SN8 flight is not to achieve the declared altitude of a dozen kilometers, but rather to test several key components of the Starship system. “This suborbital flight is designed to test a range of tasks, ranging from how the Raptor’s three engines operate, to the overall aerodynamic capabilities of the transport ship (including its flaps) and fuel management from the main and small tanks. The SN 8 will also attempt a landing roll-over maneuver that will be the first for a ship of this size, ” SpaceX said in a statement.

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Given the complexity of the task and the mass of changes in SN8, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk previously voiced the low chances of complete success on the first try: “A lot needs to be done right, so the chance is one in three,” and then added: “And so we are already preparing prototypes SN 9 and SN 10 ”. Regarding the differences between SN8, SN9, and SN10, he noted at the same time: “There are many small improvements in the new prototypes, but in general they are very similar. More reliable electrics, better engines, a more sealed nose cone, and so on. Serious updates are planned for SN 15. “ 


The Starship SN8 is built from stainless steel, and prototypes represent early versions of the rocket Musk unveiled last year. The company is developing Starship to launch cargo and send up to 100 people on missions to the Moon and Mars. While SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets are partially reusable, the company’s goal is to make Starship a fully reusable spacecraft, capable of flying regularly at relatively short intervals between flights, when fuel is a key expense rather than expensive equipment. …

SpaceX also noted that it has conducted a total of over 16,000 seconds (four and a half hours) of testing the Raptor series engines that underpin Starship. The company builds and tests Starship prototypes at its growing facility in Boca Chica, Texas. The facility is located on the Gulf Coast east of Brownsville, Texas, on the Mexican border. SpaceX expects that the first tests in the Starship orbital flight will take place no earlier than next year.

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