SpaceX may attempt the next test flight of its Starship prototype rocket as early as Wednesday, CEO Elon Musk shared on Twitter.
The flight will be the company’s most ambitious test of Starship yet, as SpaceX is aiming to reach about 50,000 feet altitude with Starship prototype Serial Number 8, or SN8. That’s notably above the 500-foot flights of the prototype’s predecessors SN5 and SN6, which completed flight tests on Aug. 5 and Sept. 3, respectively.
The launch attempt will follow a “static fire” that is scheduled for Monday – a test when SpaceX will fire the rocket’s engines briefly.
Starship SN8 is built of stainless steel, with the prototypes representing the first versions of the rocket that Musk unveiled last year. The company is developing Starship with the goal of launching cargo and as many as a 100 people at a time on missions to the Moon and Mars.
SpaceX is aiming to pass several further development milestones with Starship SN8′s flight. Musk outlined last week that SpaceX’s goals for SN8′s flight are “to test 3 engine ascent, body flaps, transition from main to header tanks & landing flip.” But asked what he thought about chances of the Starship prototype landing intact after the flight, Musk gave SN8 low odds of complete success on the first try.
“Lot of things need to go right, so maybe 1/3 chance,” Musk said. More