SpaceX is set to launch its next prototype Starship on Monday

Zoom in / SN8 almost made a safe landing in South Texas in December.

Trevor Mahlman

It was finally time to find out if the Starship Serial No. 9 will become or not SN fine or SN number.

After a series of steady fire tests on its latest prototype, SpaceX appears ready to launch the full-range vehicle early Monday afternoon from its missile facility in South Texas. The nominal plan is for the prototype to ascend to an altitude of 12.5 kilometers and perform a “belly-flipping” maneuver to simulate an energy drain as it returns through Earth’s atmosphere, re-directing itself, and landing near the launch pad.

It’s been a little over six weeks since SpaceX Performed a test similar to the SN8 In southern Texas. This flight test went beautifully towards the end of its flight. However, due to the pressure failure in the fuel tank in the upper part of the car, the Raptor engines were deprived of the fuel needed for easy landing.

So the vehicle made an amazing landing on the platform.

Watch the fate of SN8.

Fortunately, the wreck was soon removed. And at its nearby plant, SpaceX had an SN9 nearly ready to go. It might have moved to the launch pad sooner, but in mid-December, the SN9 prototype bent over, falling into the wall of its tall hive. This necessitated several days of exiting and replacing the flap. Then there were issues with the Raptor engines that were discovered via several steady fire attempts. All this and more required extensive work to prepare SN9 for her flight.

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Sources said SpaceX is keen to bring SN9 into the sky because the SN10 itself is almost ready to extend its wings. We would likely expect this vehicle to be transported en route to the launch site within days of the SN9 flight, regardless of the outcome. Testing often to find bugs is a feature of hardware-rich software like the one that SpaceX uses to develop the Starship.

The six-hour launch window for Monday’s testing runs from noon local time (18:00 UTC) to 6 PM (24:00 UTC). As with previous tests, a technical issue could cause a test campaign to abort at any time. If they are needed, SpaceX has backup launch opportunities on Tuesday and Wednesday, although weather conditions seem more favorable on Tuesday.

SpaceX will likely provide an official webcast for the launch attempt; If so, it will be included here.

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