Gallery: Preparations for Starship SN9 test flight continue
Preflight testing for Starship SN9 appears to be complete ahead of the follow-up to last-month’s unprecedented SN8 high-altitude flight, which culminated in a controlled aerodynamic descent and a landing flip maneuver.
The SN9 flight was tantalizingly close until an unheard-of three static test fires occurred in one day on Jan. 13, 2021. The brief hot fires revealed issues with the original raptor engines installed.
In the down-time, two engines were replaced, which required some additional time to configure, with a multitude of aborted and scrubbed static fire test attempts in the following days.
A successful multi-second static fire was recently completed and temporary flight restrictions indicate a possible flight as early as Jan. 25, with backup opportunities out to Wednesday.
It appears to be an encore of SN8’s same 12.5-kilometer flight profile, with the only difference being a, hopefully, successful landing. SN8’s flight was nearly perfect with the exception of an explosively hard landing.
SN9 aims to stick that landing as early as this week.