SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has announced on his social media platform X that the 2nd Starship launch which was originally scheduled for Friday 17th November has been rescheduled to Saturday the 18th.
So, the new NET (no earlier than) date for the 2nd Starship orbital flight test is 18th November 2023.
SpaceX delayed the Starship launch to Saturday because a grid fin on the Super Heavy Booster 9 needs to be fixed before it can fly off the launch pad. The actuator of one of the 4 grid fins on Booster 9 has malfunctioned and needs to be replaced.
Grid fins are large waffle-like (but hollow) metal structures installed at the forward section of a Super Heavy rocket booster. These grid fins allow the rocket to be steered during re-entry to the Earth’s atmosphere and help in landing it on the landing pad. On a Super Heavy booster, SpaceX has installed 4 of these grid fins (see picture below for reference).
The highly anticipated Starship launch is only delayed for 24 hours. Therefore, SpaceX is hurrying to fix the issues that can delay the flight any further.
According to the last reports and videos coming from Starbase, Boca Chica, Texas — SpaceX has already fixed 3 out of 4 Super Heavy grid fin actuators. Although CEO Elon Musk mentioned only “a grid fin” in his tweet, it seems SpaceX is going to replace actuators for all 4 fins to avoid any issues during launch.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued the required license to SpaceX for carrying the second Starship launch from its Starbase orbital launch site in Boca Chica, Cameron County, Texas.
Cameron County has issued a road closure notice for Boca Chica Beach and Highway 4 to ensure human safety during the Starship flight test. HWY 4 and Boca Chica Beach will be closed on November 18, 2023 from 12:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.