Original Story 12:45 pm EST: SpaceX is preparing its starship prototype vehicle for a second launch attempt from its South Texas launch site on Wednesday afternoon. The launch window has been extended to 5pm local time (23:00 UTC), and sources indicate that no liftoff will occur before 2pm local time.
The company is very close to releasing the “SN8” prototype on Tuesday evening before this attempt Canceled automatically There are only 1.3 seconds left in the countdown. It is not clear what caused the last-second scrub — perhaps pressure or temperature reading outside of acceptable levels — but SpaceX engineers seem to have solved this problem.
The weather at the coastal launch site on Wednesday was almost perfect with light winds and clear skies. If the technical problem arises again, there are additional opportunities on Thursday and Friday. However, the weather in South Texas will be more windy in those days, probably too much for the plane.
This is the first time the SpaceX Starship has attempted to soar at an altitude of 12.5 km. Previous test flights only went up to about 150 meters, and those vehicles did not include the flaps, nose cone, and other features needed to control vehicle movement in the thin upper atmosphere. Maintaining this is no small feat as the heavy vehicle is more than 50 meters long and wide.
Since most of this test is new to the vehicle and its engineers, failure is unlikely to occur. Hundreds of thousands of people tuned in to SpaceX’s brief webcast of Tuesday’s launch attempt — there is a lot of uncertainty about exactly what will happen.
As we look forward to the second attempt today, feel free to examine the gallery of captured images on Wednesday morning by Trevor Mahlman, who visited the launch site before being closed by traffic for the Boca Chica Boulevard test.
Update 3:10 pm EST: The webcast is unlikely to start earlier than five minutes before the launch attempt, which may not happen until 3pm local time (21:00 UTC).
Image list by Trevor Mahlman