Original Story 12:45 pm EST: SpaceX prepares its Starship prototype vehicle for a second launch attempt Wednesday afternoon from its South Texas launch site. The launch window extends to 5pm (23:00 UTC) local time, and sources say that no lift will occur before 2pm local time.
The company is getting very close to launching a “SN8” prototype on Tuesday evening ahead of the initiative Stopped automatically There are just 1.3 seconds in the countdown. It is not clear what caused the last-second scrub — perhaps a pressure or temperature reading outside of acceptable levels — but SpaceX engineers seem to have solved the problem.
The weather at the coastal launch site is Wednesday with almost perfect winds and clear skies. If a technical problem arises again, there are additional opportunities on Thursdays and Fridays. However, the weather in South Texas will be very windy in those days, probably more than a plane.
This is the first time the SpaceX Starship has attempted to fly at high altitudes – the vehicle could fly at an altitude of 12.5 km. Previous test flights have only gone up to about 150 meters, and those vehicles did not include the folds, nose cone and other features needed to control the vehicle’s flight in the thin upper atmosphere. Managing this is no small feat because the massive vehicle is more than 50 meters high and wide.
Since most of this test will be new to the vehicle and its engineers, it is more than likely that failure will occur. Hundreds of thousands of people may have joined SpaceX’s brief summary of Tuesday’s launch effort – there is uncertainty as to exactly what will happen.
As we look forward to the second attempt today, check out the gallery of images captured by Trevor Mahlman early Wednesday morning before visiting the publishing site before being shut down via traffic for the Boca Sica Boulevard test.
Update 3:10 pm EST: The webcast release attempt below is unlikely to start for more than five minutes, which is now unlikely to occur until 3pm (21:00 UTC) local time.
Image by Trevor Mahlman
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