After a prolific series of launches which saw the SN8, SN9, SN10 and SN11 all launch in a matter of months, noise around the SN15 has gone unusually quiet. Perhaps Elon Musk has been focusing on increasing his Dogecoin trove while the SN15 waits on the launchpad. More likely, however, SpaceX and its employees have been keeping a low profile as they work behind the scenes to get the SN15 in the skies after a series of announcements which failed to materialise.
When will the SN15 launch?
SpaceX had requested road closures along Boca Chica for April 19, with secondary dates of April 20 and April 21.
Road closure announcements are standard procedure when SpaceX is set to launch as it keeps the public and workers away from the rocket site.
However, the road closures we cancelled for April 19 and 20, leaving only April 21.
Even then, SpaceX has downgraded the road closure to a “non-flight” – which likely indicates it is merely for a static fire test.
A static fire test sees all the engines lit up as the rocket remains stationary on the ground.
By doing so, SpaceX can see if there are any problems with the SN15’s rockets which could dampen its chances of survival.
NASA SpaceFlight said: “Once the Static Fire test has been completed, SpaceX will conduct a data review. On several previous occasions, the data has called for an engine swap.
“As such, a clean data review ahead of the Launch Readiness Review (LRR) would be a step forward for the Raptors.
“While the earliest launch opportunity is now Thursday, SN15’s flight is still waiting for the final green light from a documentation standpoint, which will come from the FAA.”
It is likely SpaceX will give more of an indication of when the launch will be following the static fire test.
SpaceX will be looking to nail this launch after all four previous Starship rockets ended in a ball of flames.
While the SN11 cruised at an altitude of 10 kilometres, its rockets slowly shut down mid-flight.
Unfortunately for SpaceX, the company could not manage to get the three rockets back on until the SN11 was almost at the ground, where it landed on its side.
A huge explosion ensued, as captured by NASA Space Flight as the SN11 cameras shut down, with debris raining across the launch site.
SN11’s three predecessors all touched down with their landings but exploded shortly after or on impact.