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Watching Starship #9’s flight

LabPadre's Starship 24/7 live feed, at 8:12 am (Central), January 28, 2021
LabPadre’s Starship 24/7 live feed, at 8:12 am (Central), January 28, 2021.
Click to go to it.

BUMPED AND UPDATED: It is now confirmed that the launch was scrubbed by the FAA’s refusal to approve the license. Though SpaceX seemed to go through a fueling and countdown procedure, they have since detanked the ship.

UPDATE: It appears from several live feeds that they have scrubbed today’s launch because of high winds, and will try again tomorrow. There are also rumors, not yet confirmed, that the launch was scrubbed because the FAA denied the launch license at the last minute.

Capitalism in space: SpaceX today will make an attempt to fly the ninth prototype of its Starship to a height of approximately 33,000 feet. As the company’s Starship website notes,

Similar to the high-altitude flight test of Starship serial number 8 (SN8), SN9 will be powered through ascent by three Raptor engines, each shutting down in sequence prior to the vehicle reaching apogee – approximately 10 km in altitude. SN9 will perform a propellant transition to the internal header tanks, which hold landing propellant, before reorienting itself for reentry and a controlled aerodynamic descent.

The Starship prototype will descend under active aerodynamic control, accomplished by independent movement of two forward and two aft flaps on the vehicle. All four flaps are actuated by an onboard flight computer to control Starship’s attitude during flight and enable precise landing at the intended location. SN9’s Raptor engines will then reignite as the vehicle attempts a landing flip maneuver immediately before touching down on the landing pad adjacent to the launch mount.

SpaceX will be providing a live stream, which I shall embed here at Behind the Black once it becomes available. In addition, there are these live streams available:

Without question the SpaceX live feed will provide the best visuals, but that will not go live until just before launch. Right now I think the Labpadre live feed is my preferred choice because it provides a quick checklist on the screen telling you the countdown status, which in turn gives you an idea how soon the launch might be. For example, when the sirens sound, it means they are approximately 10 minutes to launch.

Stay tuned. This flight, which will likely be as epic as the flight of prototype #8, could make today a fun day in the history of spaceflight.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • V-Man

    The live feeds are still going… and the tank farm is shrouded in mist (3:15PM EST).

  • V-Man: No mist on any live stream I list. Two feeds, Everyday Astronaut and NASASpaceFlight seem to think there is still a chance of a launch today, but it is being blocked not by winds by the FAA decision not to approve the launch.

  • David Eastman

    Feeds are back up, tank farm is in operation, and the rocket is venting. It appears they had some FAA permit issues, which got resolved before the window ended, so the test is back ON.

  • David Eastman: No, I don’t think things are that clear. Right now it appears they are depressurizing the ship’s tanks.

    I think they still have FAA issues, and simply decided to do a pressure and countdown rehearsal.

  • They still may launch today, but until I see SpaceX upload its own live feed, I will not expect it.

  • Jeff Wright

    I would like to see a payload-free Super-Heavy core launched into orbit to become a NSWR insertion stage-the Starship converted over to storable Zip propellants for years-long missions that could be automated. Those tanks would be concentric and onion-like to shield robotic payloads nestled safely within.

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