Watch SpaceX live stream of Starship SN11 launch and landing



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[This livestream has ended. A replay is available above.]

UPDATE: SpaceX seems to have lost the Starship SN11 during the landing attempt.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX is preparing to launch the latest prototype of its next-generation Starship rocket on Tuesday, in the system’s second high-altitude flight test this month.

The Starship Serial Number 11, or SN11, prototype rocket will aim to launch and fly up to 10 kilometers, or approximately 32,800 feet above sea level. The rocket is constructed from stainless steel, which represents the earliest versions of the rocket that Musk unveiled in 2019.

The prototype SN11 spacecraft rocket stands on the launch pad at the company’s Boca Chica, Texas plant.

SpaceX

The company is developing Starship for the purpose of launching cargo and people on missions to the Moon and Mars.

The SN11 flight will be similar to the one SpaceX has performed over the past four months, with test flights of the SN8, SN9 and SN10 prototypes. While each of the previous rockets were successfully launched and achieved several development goals, all three prototypes were explosively destroyed – SN8 and SN9 on impact during landing attempts and SN10 a few minutes after the landing.

The FAA opened an investigation after the SN10 explosion, saying in a statement to CNBC “that the problems related to the FAA crash had no effect on public safety.” The FAA approved changes to SpaceX’s launch license for SN11, with the company cleared for its next flight test.

Like the flights of its predecessors, the objective of launching the SN11 is not necessarily to reach maximum altitude, but rather to test several key elements of the Starship system. The Starship prototype stands about 150 feet tall, about the size of a 15-story building, and is powered by three Raptor rocket engines. SpaceX will trigger all three engines for takeoff, then shut them down one by one in order as it nears the top of the flight’s intended altitude.

SN11 will aim to transfer the thruster from its main tanks to the head tanks, then turn around for the “belly flop” re-entry maneuver in order to be able to control its descent into the air with the four flaps of the rocket. Then, in the final moments of descent, SpaceX will flip the rocket into a vertical orientation and fire the Raptor engines to slow down for a landing attempt.

Notably, SN11’s launch on Friday would mark 24 days since SN10 flew, slashing previous turnaround time by nearly a week as SpaceX ramps up manufacturing in Texas.

Starship is one of two “Manhattan projects” that SpaceX is developing simultaneously, the other being its Starlink satellite Internet program. Musk had previously estimated that it would cost around $ 5 billion to fully develop Starship, although SpaceX has not disclosed how much it has spent on the program to date.

Last month, the company grossed $ 850 million in its most recent fundraiser at a valuation of $ 74 billion.

Musk remains “very confident” that Starship “will be safe enough for human transport by 2023” – an ambitious goal given that the company began development and testing of the rocket in early 2019.

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