SpaceX’s next Starship rocket may soar to 15 kilometers this weekend, but Elon Musk says there’s a 2-in-3 chance the flight may fail



a man standing in front of a tall building: SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk, is building and launching Starship prototypes in Boca Chica, Texas. SpaceX; Mark Brake/Getty Images; Business Insider


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SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk, is building and launching Starship prototypes in Boca Chica, Texas. SpaceX; Mark Brake/Getty Images; Business Insider

  • SpaceX is planning to fly a Starship rocket prototype to its highest altitude yet this weekend, according to road closures and a Notice to Airmen issued for the aerospace company’s launch site in southern Texas. 
  • The spacecraft should fly 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) into the air. Previous prototypes have only made short hops of about 150 meters (492 feet).
  • SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said there was a lot that could go wrong, and gave the rocket a one-in-three chance of landing in one piece.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

This weekend, Elon Musk’s space-exploration company, SpaceX, is poised to take a big step forward in its quest to further revolutionize space travel.

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Musk tweeted on Sunday that a prototype of

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SpaceX’s Starship will have its first high-altitude test next week

  • SpaceX’s Starship rocket is scheduled to have its first high-altitude flight test next week.
  • The spacecraft will fly 15 kilometres (50,000 feet) into the air. Previous prototypes have only made short hops of a few hundred metres.
  • CEO Elon Musk said there was a lot that could go wrong, and gave the rocket a 1-in-3 chance of landing in one piece.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Next week, Elon Musk’s space-exploration company SpaceX will take a big step forward in its quest to fly people to Mars.

Musk tweeted on Tuesday that SpaceX’s enormous Starship spacecraft – which the company eventually wants to use to get humans to Mars – will undergo its first high altitude test next week. This follows a successful test firing of the current prototype’s engines on Tuesday.

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A prototype of SpaceX’s Starship spacecraft at the company’s facility in Boca Chica, Texas (September 28,

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SpaceX Prepares Starship SN8 For Launch, But Elon Musk Gives 1-in-3 Chance Of Landing Intact

KEY POINTS

  • Starship prototypes SN5 and SN6 completed short hop tests in earlier this year
  • Elon Musk said a lot of things need to go right with this launch
  • Starship’s orbital launch will not be before 2021

Elon Musk revealed on Tuesday that SpaceX could launch its latest Starship prototype as early as “next week.” 

The Serial Number 8 Starship prototype, also called SN8, has already passed a test firing of its three engines. In its next launch, SpaceX is hoping the rocket will reach an altitude of around 50,000 feet, which would be quite a liftoff considering both the SN5 and SN6 flights only reached 500 feet.

For Musk, the Starship mission has become SpaceX’s main focus, following the successful launch of four astronauts into space in its Crew Dragon capsule earlier this month.

Musk has said that the Starship mission needs to be pushed forward “dramatically and immediately,” 

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SpaceX could send next-gen Starship rocket on its first big flight next week

Starship could get much closer to Mars than it’s ever been by the end of this month, but even if it succeeds it will still have a long way to go.



SpaceX assembled the shiny pieces of its planned Starship orbital prototype in late 2019. This wasn't a launch-ready version, but it shows what the spacecraft will likely look like when it's finally ready for testing. SpaceX


© Provided by CNET
SpaceX assembled the shiny pieces of its planned Starship orbital prototype in late 2019. This wasn’t a launch-ready version, but it shows what the spacecraft will likely look like when it’s finally ready for testing. SpaceX

Elon Musk and SpaceX have continued to improve the company’s next-generation rocket intended to eventually transport thousands of Earthlings to Mars, the moon and other destinations. Over the past 18 months, a handful of short test flights, or “hops,” have seen a few prototypes lift off a pad in Texas, rise to an elevation of about 500 feet (150 meters) and then come back down for a soft landing.

SpaceX Starship prototype takes first ‘hop’

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SpaceX’s Starship Static Fire Test Didn’t Go as Planned

SpaceX performed a static fire test of its latest Starship prototype this week, but not all went as planned.

This was the third static fire test of the SN8 prototype, in which the rocket is fueled as if it were to be launched, then fires its engines for a few seconds which remains attached to the ground. But this time the test experienced some issues. As the vehicle fired its engines, some kind of material could be seen dripping from the base of the prototype, as reported by space.com. This is not a normal part of the test and indicates that something was going wrong.

Fortunately, the prototype was not destroyed in the test (as has happened before), but SpaceX CEO Elon Musk confirmed that there were issues.

“We lost vehicle pneumatics,” Musk said on Twitter. “Reason unknown at present. Liquid oxygen header tank pressure is rising. Hopefully triggers

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SpaceX’s Starship could help clean up space junk in orbit, says CEO

  • SpaceX’s Starship rocket system could help clear out junk that has been left in Earth’s orbit, according to Gwynne Shotwell, the company’s president and CEO. 
  • “It’s not going to be easy, but I do believe Starship offers the possibility of going and doing that,” Shotwell said in an online interview with Time Magazine. 
  • Daniel Oltrogge, director at the Center for Space Standards and Innovation, told Business Insider: “Space debris is increasingly of concern and the collision of two massive space debris objects… pose the greatest environmental risk.”
  • Oltrogge said it’s estimated that there may be around 760,000 objects larger than a centimeter in size in orbit today.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

SpaceX’s Starship rocket system could help solve the problem of space junk, according to the company’s president and chief operating officer. 

“There’s rocket bodies littering the space environment, and dead satellites,” said Gwynne Shotwell in an

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SpaceX will stream potentially fireworks-filled Starship test flight

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SpaceX assembled the shiny pieces of its planned Starship orbital prototype in late 2019. This wasn’t a launch-ready version, but it shows what the spacecraft will probably look like when it’s finally ready for testing.


SpaceX

The latest prototype of Elon Musk’s planned Mars rocket has been coming together at the SpaceX development facility in Boca Chica, Texas. SN8 looks more like an actual rocket than previous iterations, and it could be the first to make an actual high altitude flight, though Musk has been quick to lower expectations.

Previous versions have managed a few short “hops” of nearly 500 feet (150 meters) in altitude before making controlled landings not far from where they lifted off. Now Musk hopes to fly SN8 to over 9 miles (15 kilometers) high, but he also isn’t guaranteeing it’ll make it far off the launchpad.

“A RUD (rapid unscheduled disassembly, AKA an explosion) right

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