SpaceX's first high-altitude STARSHIP flight test aborted

Due to a Raptor engine auto-abort at T-1 second, the SpaceX team is standing down from Tuesday's attempt of a high-altitude suborbital flight test of Starship serial number 8 (SN8) from our site in Cameron County, Texas.

Image credit: SpaceX

We have additional test opportunities available on Wednesday, December 9 and Thursday, December 10. The schedule is dynamic and likely to change, as is the case with all development testing. Stay tuned for more information on the next target test date and time.

This suborbital flight is designed to test a number of objectives, from how the vehicle’s three Raptor engines perform to the overall aerodynamic entry capabilities of the vehicle (including its body flaps) to how the vehicle manages propellant transition. SN8 will also attempt to perform a landing flip maneuver, which would be a first for a vehicle of this size.

With a test such as this, success is not measured by completion of specific objectives but rather how much we can learn, which will inform and improve the probability of success in the future as SpaceX rapidly advances development of Starship.

Image credit: SpaceX

This past year alone, SpaceX has completed two low-altitude flight tests with Starship SN5 and SN6 and accumulated over 16,000 seconds of run time during 330 ground engine starts, including multiple Starship static fires and four flight tests of the reusable methalox full-flow staged combustion Raptor engine. Additionally, with production accelerating and fidelity increasing, SpaceX has built 10 Starship prototypes. SN9 is almost ready to move to the pad, which now has two active stands for rapid development testing.

SN8’s flight test is an exciting next step in the development of a fully reusable transportation system capable of carrying both crew and cargo to Earth orbit, the Moon, Mars, and beyond. As we venture into new territory, we continue to appreciate all of the support and encouragement we have received.

There will be a live feed of the flight test available here that will start a few minutes prior to liftoff. Given the uncertainty of the schedule, stay tuned to our social media channels for updates as we move toward our first high-altitude flight test of Starship!


Source: SpaceX