Epic SpaceX High Altitude Starship Test Flight

The SpaceX SN8 test flight countdown is paused at about 2 minutes set for 4:40 pm CST.

This is one hour and fifteen minutes from now.

UPDATE: SpaceX successfully flew the Starship SN8 to high altitude but exploded on a failed landing. A successful and epic flight but unsuccessful landing. It did everything else but land.

Elon says fuel header tank pressure was low during landing burn. This seems like an easy fix for SN9.

The SpaceX team will attempt a high-altitude suborbital flight test (12500 meter) of Starship serial number 8 (SN8) from the site in Cameron County, Texas. The schedule is dynamic and likely to change, as is the case with all development testing. This live feed will start a few minutes prior to liftoff.

This suborbital flight is designed to test a number of objectives, from how the vehicle’s three Raptor engines perform, and the overall aerodynamic entry capabilities of the vehicle, including its body flaps, to how the vehicle manages the propellant transition. SN8 will also attempt to perform a landing flip maneuver, which would be a first for a vehicle of this size.

21 thoughts on “Epic SpaceX High Altitude Starship Test Flight”

  1. So I now understand to have been the case. I still think those gimbal excursions at the time of the shutdowns looked bad.

  2. All of the engine shut downs were planned except for the 1 shutdown at the end. It was supposed to land on 2 engines. The other engine was about to go as well as it was destroying itself from running oxygen rich.

  3. I think the engines are gimballed out of the way when they're shut down. Of course, the other engines have to adjust at the same time, since they're off-center. So it looks "out of control" for a moment.

    The shutdowns look rather messy though, with flames all over the place. Even the 3rd one. IDK, maybe that's just how a methane engine shuts down.

  4. Far from perfect but very promising. What's more important
    is the fact that skydiver landing is absolutely feasible.
    Propulsive landing…they are accustomed to fix it.

  5. I'd say they had a lot more problems than just low fuel header tank pressure, but that might have been the proximate cause of the crash.

  6. That was awesome! Shame header tank pressure is what caused the insufficient thrust for the final landing though.

    Of note, the DC-X "swoop of death" has now been properly demonstrated!

  7. I would say it was probably a very educational flight. At least they got up to considerable altitude, and got to try the sky diver maneuver.

    Looks like coming out of it was delayed, which may have left them short on time to come to a stop.

  8. It landed on one engine, which apparently wasn't enough, so I'm going to say you had two engines fail, not just one.

    It looks to me like the engines were mounted too close together, and a gimbal excursion at 1 minute 40 seconds caused two of them to hit each other? Then at 3 minutes 12 seconds another gimbal excursion, and the second engine is shut down.

    Until the excursions the engines were gimbaling together, so the close proximity might not have mattered.

    Either space them out further, or mechanically tie them together so that gimbal malfunctions can't cause the engine bells to hit. Then the gimbal servos can fight it out and majority wins for sustained flight.

    Maybe passive gimbals at the top of the engine, and then a collective control frame just above the bells, which could be panned and rotated to control all the engines together, and guarantee engine bell clearance? Just an idea.

  9. Well, that was exciting. Were the engine shutoffs all planned? Maybe not, and it wasn't capable of landing on one engine.

    Looks like a fire, too.

  10. One of the engines failed. It looks like it lost its stabilizer control 2/3 into launch accent and was shut down intentionally. My guess is that affected thrust for the landing and as you can see it came in too fast.

  11. Interesting: They've switched to a view of the interior of the bottom. Apparently for these tests they don't bother with the reflective thermal wrap you see around the engine for Falcon launches.

  12. Probably not, but would you blame them?

    It looks they will have a gorgeous afternoon and sunset in Texas' coast.

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