Elon Musk discusses future of SpaceX's Starship system
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Major upgrades are underway at SpaceX’s Starship facility in Boca Chica, South Texas. SpaceX boss Elon Musk shared on Thursday morning a photo of the 164ft-tall (50m) Starship SN10, revealing the prototype was having one of its engines swapped out. SN10 completed a static fire test on Monday – the final dress rehearsal before launch – but the prototype did not pass with flying colours.
Mr Musk later confirmed on Twitter one of Starship’s Raptor engines was “suspect” and would be replaced.
The unfortunate news put a dent in SpaceX’s plans, with fans worldwide expecting SN10 to launch this week.
The prototype rocket, which will one day fly humans to Mars, is yet to earn its wings and after the spectacular crash landing of the SN8 and SN9 iterations, tensions are running high.
One SpaceX fan asked Mr Musk on Twitter: “Would it be fair to say that it’s the Raptor engine development that’s causing the delays recently?
“I mean SpaceX is able to assemble a Starship rather reliably and fairly quickly but there have been Raptor swap-outs nearly every static fire?”
How to watch the Starship SN10 launch live online?
Although SpaceX has not confirmed a launch date yet, you can already follow a round-the-clock stream of the Boca Chica launch pad here on Express.co.uk.
Courtesy of Labpadre on YouTube, the live stream embedded above shows the Starship prototype front and centre.
The stream is hosted from nearly six miles away on South Padre Island, Texas.
The video features a live overlay with the latest wind speeds and other weather data, as well as updates from the launch pad.
There is no telling when Starship will launch as SpaceX has kept fairly quiet about its plans so far.
Earlier this week, Mr Musk said there is a “good chance” SN10 will launch before the week is over.
These plans, however, were likely scuppered by SN10’s engine replacement.
Once the new Raptor is fitted, SpaceX will need to carry out another static fire test.
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The good news is, the test could still go ahead before the weekend.
Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino jr has issued road closure notices for Thursday and Friday, as well as Monday and Tuesday next week.
The closures are in effect between 3pm and midnight GMT (9am and 6pm CTS) on all four days.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has also restricted the airspace around Brownsville and Boca Chica on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
The FAA cited planned “space operations” up to an unlimited altitude on these three days.
If the Starship launches on any of these days, it will do so between 2pm and 12.30am GMT (8am to 6.30pm CST).
Follow Express.co.uk for all the latest information on SpaceX and the Starship programme.
SpaceX will host its own stream of the test flight as soon as it is confirmed and cleared with the right authorities.
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