Starship SN10 is already on the launchpad at SpaceX’s Boca Chica facility in Texas, and has an eight hour window to achieve what it predecessors could not.
If successful, SN10 will become the first Starship prototype to achieve a landing after flying to a high altitude, with similar tests of SN8 and SN8 ending in fiery explosions.
The launch window runs from 9am local time (3pm GMT) until 6pm (12am GMT, Thursday).
SpaceX will be providing a live stream of the launch, which will go live shortly before the attempt is made.
We will have the stream right here as soon as it’s available, and you can follow all the latest updates right here.
Pre-flight checks are still underway, and while today’s launch schedule remains vague, so to does Starship’s overall timeline.
The first commercial flight is expected to take place in 2023, with Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa already booked in for a flight around the moon.
Elon Musk says the first crewed missions to Mars could then occur either in 2024 or 2026 at the earliest.
Missions to Mars will launch from the moon but SpaceX has plans to construct Starship launchpads all over the world. These will be used to ferry people at supersonic speeds around the planet, as well as to launch passengers to the moon, and from there to Mars.
Last month, Musk confirmed that some of these launchpads will be constructed on disused oil rigs. You can read the full story here:
Anthony Cuthbertson3 March 2021 17:00
View from the beaches
Some observers estimate that we are around 1.5 hours away from the test taking place, though there has been no official word from SpaceX yet.
The beaches around Boca Chica are already filling up with people hopeful of witnessing Starship SN10 take flight.
Anthony Cuthbertson3 March 2021 16:38
We’re one hour into the launch window and the weather is looking fairly overcast in Boca Chica right now. Forecasts suggest it will be much the same for the rest of the day, though hopefully this won’t impact the launch. Progress at the launchpad continues to progress.
Anthony Cuthbertson3 March 2021 16:13
You can read more about Maezawa’s dearMoon project, and how to apply, here:
Anthony Cuthbertson3 March 2021 16:04
To the moon
Elon Musk has said there will be hundreds of uncrewed Starship flights before humans are allowed on board, but plans are already underway for the first commercial flight.
Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa paid to be the first private customer to ride around the moon aboard a future Starship. Today, he invited people to apply to join his nine-person crew, saying he wants “people from all kinds of backgrounds to join”.
The trip is scheduled for 2023.
Anthony Cuthbertson3 March 2021 16:02
Backup launches in place
SpaceX is hedging its bets with today’s test. If, for whatever reason, Starship SN10 is unable to fly today, Cameron County has road closures in place for both Thursday and Friday.
Anthony Cuthbertson3 March 2021 15:26
‘A controlled aerodynamic descent’
The launch window is officially open. No word yet on when the test will actually take place, though it may be at least a couple of hours while they finish final checks.
SpaceX has published details on its website about how the test should go:
Anthony Cuthbertson3 March 2021 15:10
Making humanity a multi-planetary species
This will be the third major Starship test since December, as Elon Musk makes good on his promise to make development of the rocket SpaceX’s top priority.
The tech billionaire made the pledge last year after growing frustrated with its progress, fearing that he may never achieve his ambition of travelling to Mars in his lifetime.
The ultimate goal is to use a fleet of up to 1,000 Starships to transport people and cargo around the solar system and establish a permanent human colony on the red planet.
Musk is known for his ambitious timelines but Starship’s schedule is surely the most supercharged yet, with the first crewed missions planned for as early as 2024.
Before any of that can happen, SpaceX first needs to work out how to stick the landing. Here’s a reminder of how the last Starship test ended.
SpaceX’s Starship test flight ends in fiery crash, again
Anthony Cuthbertson3 March 2021 14:21
Elon Musk confirms
This was the confirmation from Elon Musk on Tuesday that the test will be going ahead today.
We’re just a couple of hours away from the window opening.
Anthony Cuthbertson3 March 2021 13:59
Third time lucky?
Hello and welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of SpaceX’s Starship SN10 flight test.
It is the third major high-altitude jaunt for the Mars-bound craft, with both previous attempts ending in a fiery explosion.
There have been numerous delays to the latest launch but now the weather is clear, local roads are closed, FAA clearance has been sought, and even Elon Musk himself has confirmed that today is the day. We hope.
Anthony Cuthbertson3 March 2021 13:46