Update on Starship SN11 as SpaceX marches toward a static fire
SpaceX Starship production continues right along with SN11 now undergoing the Raptor engine static fire phase of testing.
The company continues its rapid-fire production cadence and testing flow as Starship SN11 was rolled to the launch pad March 7, 2021, at SpaceX’s Boca Chica, Texas, facility. This came just days after SN10’s hard but successful landing (and subsequent explosion about 10 minutes later).
Remains from the aftermath of that flight were still on the landing pad as SN11 arrived at Pad B and completed ambient and cryogenic proof testing in the following days.
After taking the usual weekend break a first static fire attempt was made Monday, March 15, but there appeared to be an abort after ignition with a long howl from the engines and a quick depress indicating an off-nominal test.
Another attempt is possible in the coming days pending an associated road closure. The results of the static fire could pave the way for a flight as early as Friday or Saturday as indicated by the temporary flight restrictions currently in place for those days as of this writing. These dates are highly subject to change, however, as is usual with the fledgling Starship program.
Federal Aviation Administration approval has also been granted for the flight already and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk himself recently posted on Twitter that Starship SN11 will be ready to fly soon. All eyes are now on the next static fire.
A recap of Starship SN10’s flight. Video courtesy of SpaceX
Nicholas D'Alessandro was born and raised in Southwest Florida. The seeds of his interest in Space Exploration were planted when the Shuttle's sonic boom upon re-entry would reverberate through his childhood home even across the state; the knowledge that a real life spacecraft was passing overhead and could have that effect was fascinating to him. A middle school field trip to the Kennedy Space Center cemented that fascination, and with an additional interest in the bleeding edge of automotive technology and Teslas, it was the story of Elon Musk's path to Cape Canaveral with SpaceX that finally led Nicholas to move to the Space Coast and, after joining Spaceflight Insider in 2020, begin documenting the dawning era of commercial spaceflight.