The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorized SpaceX to launch the next three Starship test vehicles in South Texas. Starship development is rapidly leading towards the first flight test to orbit. Engineers plan to test at least five more stainless-steel prototypes of the spacecraft before launching one on its maiden flight to space. Teams are currently working on the Starship SN15 prototype that is undergoing pre-flight preparations at the Boca Chica Beach launch pad, while the next prototypes are undergoing assembly at the small village that SpaceX founder Elon Musk calls ‘Starbase.’ The sandy region is transforming into a spaceport from where a fleet of Starship launch vehicles will liftoff to explore the Moon, Mars, and beyond.
SpaceX plans to launch Starship SN15 this week. The vehicle is equipped with a Starlink dish that connects to the company’s internet service. It is the first Starship to feature a dish antenna to connect to the broadband network that currently has around 1,500 internet-beaming satellites which provide high-speed internet. One day, the Starlink constellation will have over 12,000 satellites to connect the entire globe. Musk envisions using Starlink service aboard moving vehicles like aircraft, ships, RV’s, and even Starship trips. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) already granted SpaceX approval to test the Starlink service during the upcoming high-altitude flight test (read more in article linked below). SN15 is expected to soar 10-kilometers above Boca Chica Beach and attempt a propulsive landing. The previous four test vehicles failed to ace the landing. Musk said that Starship SN15 features “hundreds of design improvements across structures, avionics/software and engine.” These upgrades could hopefully help the vehicle stick the landing.
SpaceX Gets FCC Approval To Test Starlink Dish Aboard Starship SN15 During Upcoming Flighthttps://t.co/lMX4SKzm2p— Tesmanian.com (@Tesmanian_com) April 30, 2021
According to Cameron County Boca Chica Beach road closure announcements, SpaceX has plans to launch Starship SN15 as soon as Tuesday. “I have ordered the closure of Boca Chica Beach and Hwy 4 for the purpose of protecting Public Health and Safety during SpaceX space flight activities on May 4, 2021, in the time period between 12:00 p.m. C.S.T. to 8:00 p.m. C.S.T. [Central Time],” Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño, Jr. said in a public announcement. “And in the alternative on May 5, 2021, from 12:00 p.m. C.S.T. to 8:00p.m. C.S.T., of the same day. Should SpaceX not complete its planned space flight activities on May 4, 2021, then SpaceX may use the alternate date to complete its test launch activities," Treviño stated. You can watch SpaceX South Texas Launch Facility Starship development progress Live 24/7 in the video below, courtesy of LabPadre via YouTube.
A marine safety information bulletin has been issued ahead of tomorrow's (5/4) SN15 launch attempt. pic.twitter.com/R63ZmiTAPF— Starship Updates - Boca Chica (@op_boca) May 3, 2021
WATCH IT LIVE!
Featured Image Source: SpaceX
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.