After four successesit all ended with dramatic explosions during the landing phase, Elon’s Musk’s space company switched to SN15, a new version of its interplanetary rocket.
SpaceX has performed high-altitude test flights of the SN8 to SN11 prototypes and has long planned to incorporate what Musk called “major upgrades” into SN15. Now the company is skipping the SN12, SN13 and SN14, which were never fully assembled, and working on a flight of SN15.
Musk said SN15 “has hundreds of design improvements across structures, avionics / software, and engine,” including, hopefully, upgrades to cover some of the issues that have kept SpaceX from being successful. block the landing so far without a quick and unplanned disassembly.
SN15 has undergone some initial testing, and Musk originally tweeted that the goal was to launch last week, but that goal has continued to slide, and now a possible flight on Friday has also been cleaned up. On Thursday, the FAA said it had approved a launch license that covers SN15, SN16 and SN17, but currently it looks like we’ll have to wait until next week to see it fly.
SN15 can be launched anytime (or not at all) in approved windows once all required closings and permissions are in place. We usually have no clear idea of when it will take off until less than an hour before takeoff looks set to happen (even then, false starts are common).
So for now, keep your fingers crossed to see SN15 fly (and land!). We’ll post a live stream of the launch here once it’s available.
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