Saturday, December 12, 2020

Starship Prototype SN9 Set to Roll to Pad Monday

Well, that was the story yesterday on Teslarati.   I'm not sure, but I think it was posted before SN9's support structure in the Hi Bay partially broke and SN9 got a little tipsy into the corner (thanks to regular reader/commenter Malatrope for the info and link).  Like this.

SN9 has earned the name Eileen from now on for forever.

The question is whether Eileen was hurt badly enough that she can't make it to the pad without repairs there in the high bay.  As of minutes ago, Saturday night, the large crane kept around for lifting these 50 meter tall rockets, a crane affectionately named Bluto (the body of the crane is blue) was extended partly into the building and being set to lift Eileen up and out.  A bit farther down the page at NASA Spaceflight, we can see damage to Eileen's lower flap on the side near the front corner of the High Bay.  Whether that's better repaired there in the assembly area (called the shipyard) or if it should be fixed out on the test pad is a question I can't answer. 

All I can say is we shall see over the course of the next couple of days.  If they pull Eileen out of the High Bay and start repairs in the shipyard, that probably means they won't move her to the test area until the repairs are done.   If they pull her out, stand her there and work on the collapsed stand in the High Bay, that probably means she's over there until all repairs are completed. 

No matter where they're done, the repairs probably rule out a flight before January.


  1. As of midnight CST they are starting to lift Eileen. There is damage to the fuselage (?) up near the nose cone. That is probably where it leaned against the front of the High Bay.

    Looking at the damage to the "flap" on the lower left, there may be damage to the area where it mounts base on what I have seen of aircraft damage. If SN9 is damaged beyond use, it may become the decoration at the front gate of the SpaceX facility.

    Another interesting tidbit is that SpaceX is in talks with the Indonesian government to establish a Starship launch site (and factory?) in that country. It was postulated that this is a back up plan if the U.S. Government wants to give SpaceX grief through environmental "issues", Planetary Protection "issues" and EDIWG protestations at Boca Chica. The author also threw Texas in there but as a Texan our current government will not be giving SpaceX any big issues.

  2. It'll buff right out.