Featured Image Source: LabPadre via YouTube & Twitter
SpaceX is rapidly developing the Starship launch vehicle at Boca Chica Beach in South Texas, which SpaceX founder Elon Musk calls ‘Starbase, TX.’ He envisions a fleet of at least one hundred shiny Starships embarking on voyages to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. Less than a week ago, on March 3, SpaceX launched the Starship SN10 prototype on a 10-kilometer flight test above the sandy beach. The stainless-steel vehicle propelled into the sky with a Raptor engine trio, performed an amazing aerodynamic flight and belly-flop maneuver upon landing. SN10 became the first full-scale Starship prototype to ace a propulsive landing. Even though the vehicle exploded around eight minutes after landing, it was a successful test that enables the company to move forward towards making launching Starship prototypes routine in South Texas.
This morning, SpaceX transported the next prototype that will perform a flight test to the Boca Chica Beach launch pad. Starship SN11 was rolled out of the high-bay at the assembly facility and transported to the nearby launch pad less than five miles down the road. Boca Chica residents captured video of the gigantic vehicle’s transportation operation, shown below. Starship is 150-feet-tall, equivalent to a 15-story-high building. The vehicle will one day be capable of transporting 100 passengers to space destinations.
Just another day in Texas🚀🤠 pic.twitter.com/fsLpWdBpaq— Austin Barnard🚀 (@austinbarnard45) March 8, 2021
To make a spacefaring future a reality, SpaceX runs around-the-clock operations to develop the spacecraft. Musk previously said the company could test at least twenty Starship prototypes before launching one to orbit. Starship SN11 is expected to undergo preflight testing at the launch pad in the days ahead. The first test will be a series of proof tests to assess if the vehicle can withstand the stresses it would experience in-flight. After it passes the proof tests, then SN11’s three Raptor engines will undergo preflight testing, including Wet Dress Rehearsals (WDR) and brief static-fire test(s) to assess the vehicle’s and engines’ performance. If that goes well, we could see another Starship take flight this month! You can watch SpaceX South Texas Launch Site operations Live 24/7 in the video below, courtesy of LabPadre via YouTube.
WATCH IT LIVE!
Images Source: LabPadre via YouTube & Twitter
About the Author
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.