SpaceX has just performed a static fire test on the Starship SN11 prototype. The success of this test is a prelude to the high altitude test flight of SN11 that can happen as soon as tomorrow (Tuesday 23rd March).
Boca Chica launch site observers from NasaSpaceFlight.com live-streamed this important event the recording of it you can watch below.
The most favorable launch window seems to be on Wednesday 24th March this week as Cameron County, TX has a scheduled highway 4 closure on this day. If the SN11 high-altitude flight is scrubbed (called off) for some reason, the local county has already a possible road closure planned for Thursday 25th March as well (see public notice below).
Tomorrow’s launch also depends on how good the test data is from today’s 3 Raptor engine static fire on SN11. The SN9 prototype went through three successful static fire tests in a day and needed 2 of the 3 Raptor engines switched, this resulted in a 2 weeks+ delay in SN9 launch.
Elon Musk or SpaceX have not yet confirmed that the SN11 static fire test data is good enough and none of the Raptor engines need a swap. However, according to Musk’s latest tweet on this subject, SpaceX is constantly improving the Raptor engine and it is now more efficient than the previous prototypes installed in earlier Starship prototypes.
During the SN10 high-altitude test flight, the landing Raptor engine was low on thrust that resulted in a RUD (rapid unscheduled disassembly) or crash in plain English. Hopefully, we see a successful Starship landing this time, it will be a major milestone towards the development of the production version of this next-gen spaceship for Mars.