SpaceX Starship launch: After cryo test wraps up Starship SN10 edges closer to launch date

SpaceX Starship explodes on landing during a test

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SpaceX’s Starship SN9 prototype only launched last week but fans are already focused on the upcoming launch of Starship SN10. The rocket was pumped full of liquid nitrogen on Monday after it was rolled out onto the launch pad at Boca Chica, South Texas. The cryogenic test ensured the stainless-steel SN10 can withstand the temperatures and pressures it will be subjected to before launch.

The next step before Starship launches on its maiden test flight will be a static fire test of the rocket’s three Raptor engines.

During this wet dress rehearsal, the rocket is filled with fuel and engines are fired at full thrust.

But Starship will not be going anywhere just yet as the rocket will remain strapped to the ground.

And though SpaceX has not confirmed when the static fire test will go ahead, road closures around Boca Chica have been scheduled for Thursday.

Boca Chica resident and NASASpaceFlight contributor Mary, @BocaChicaGal, tweeted: “An ‘Alert’ notice has been delivered and a road closure scheduled for tomorrow Thursday, February 11, from 12pm to 8pm.

“Starship SN10 testing resumes with potentially a static fire test of its three Raptor engines.”

The road closures were issued by Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino Jr, with a backup between 1pm and 6pm GMT (7am and 12pm CST) on Friday.

If the test goes ahead today, there is a small chance Starship could fly before the week is over.

SpaceX perform 150m hop with Starship SN5

However, SpaceX will have one final hurdle to clear before SN10 flies: FAA approval.

SpaceX will need to clear the launch with the US Federal Aviation Network.

SpaceX and the FAA were at loggerheads in recent weeks after Starship SN9’s test flight in January appeared to have been called off in the last minute by the regulator.

Elon Musk attacked the FAA on Twitter, saying the regulator’s decisions were delaying humanity’s progress to Mars.

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He tweeted: “Their rules are meant for a handful of expendable launches per year from a few government facilities.

“Under those rules, humanity will never get to Mars.”

The FAA has raised concerns over the launch pad explosion of the Starship SN8 – a fate shared by the SN9 last week.

Both Starship prototypes launched straight up on suborbital flights after which they attempted to touch back down at Boca Chica.

But the rockets failed to slow down in time and instead were blown to smithereens, sending a mushroom cloud into the sky.

Despite the apparent setback, SpaceX views the tests as a partial success.

The Starship prototypes are expendable and each test flight provides SpaceX with data on how to improve the Starship design and flight.

SpaceX is building Starship to send the humans to Mars in a bid to extend our reach into the solar system.

Starship will launch on top of the Super Heavy booster rocket, both of which will be fully reusable.

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