CEO Elon Musk says SpaceX has delayed the launch of the No. 11 (SN11) spacecraft at high altitudes for the first time from Friday to Monday to ensure the company can “land and fully recover” the steel rocket 50 meters high.
First and foremost, the weekend will allow SpaceX time for “extra pulls” and to search for Starship SN11 and the data produced during testing for any red flags or minor issues. While plans for a steady, same-day shooting did not take off on Friday, March 26, SpaceX did manage the first half, firing only one of three Starship Raptors to validate the replacement engine after swapping the Raptor on Thursday. . Testing was the first time SpaceX had intentionally launched only one Raptors installed on a prototype of the Starship with three engines, so the delay would save additional time to ensure the three were still in good condition.
Stand on SN11 until Monday probably. Additional withdrawals are required. We try our best to land and recover completely.
Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 26, 2021
The weather in Boca Chica, Texas has also taken a turn for the worse in the past few days, so the extra few days will also (hopefully) allow time to improve wind conditions, visibility and precipitation. According to Musk, Starship SN11 is now scheduled to fly early Monday “afternoon”, and as usual, SpaceX will provide live coverage of its fourth high-altitude launch and landing attempt which begins a few minutes before takeoff.
With a bit of luck, the Starship prototype will be able to continue the trend of iterative improvement and the Starship SN10 with a slightly softer landing and no bursting minutes after landing. Stay tuned for updates here and on SpaceX’s social media platforms to watch the official webcast.