Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Space News: SN10 Test Flight Imminent and Big Rocket Lab Announcement

If you're waiting to see if the new method of lighting the three Raptors on SN10 will work better than the "we were too dumb" version on SN9, this is very likely your week.  In fact, tomorrow might be your day.  The weather was too bad yesterday and the first part of today to attempt, but the Temporary Flight Restrictions that will allow flight to 10 km are valid tomorrow through Friday.  At about 2:30 this afternoon, Boca Chica Village resident and NASA Spaceflight's regular photographer on scene, BocaChicaGal Mary, retweeted:
Happy to let y’all know that I have been asked to evacuate for Starship SN10 launch attempt tomorrow. It looks like it will be a beautiful day for a launch. I can’t wait to see SN10 nail the landing!

A screen capture from Nerdle Cam with SN10 on the left and SN9 right back in January. 

It looks like everything is in place to say they'll attempt the test tomorrow.  The other two test flights were both fairly late in the day, so that's the only clue I have.

Here within viewing distance of the Kennedy Space Center/Cape Canaveral Space Force Center complex, we had a third straight scrub of the next launch of 60 Starlink satellites, the mission called Starlink V1 L17 or simply Starlink-17.  So far this week, they had an abort called by the Falcon 9's software with 1:24 minutes left in the countdown for a Sunday night launch, a Monday evening launch and now tonight.  On Sunday, Teslarati was calling this, “by far – SpaceX’s most delayed Starlink launch since the company began launching the spacecraft in May 2019.”  

New Zealand/US company Rocket Lab announced a heavier lift, reusable booster called Neutron which they intend to fly by 2024.  The rocket will have a capacity to orbit of eight tons (I'm sure that will depend, as always, on exactly which orbit) intended for launching constellations of satellites like the Falcon 9 does.  It's intended to be rated for manned spaceflight, also like the Falcon 9.  The payloads a Falcon 9 can lift to orbit can exceed 10 metric tons, but can also be quite a bit lower, depending on the orbital height, launch facility and all those important details.

That announcement, however, is a routine corporate announcement.  What you really want to see is the Peter Beck (founder/CEO) video at their twitter account.


  1. Good for them. The more, the merrier!

  2. If this keeps up, we'll have an "Excess Capacity Launcher Crisis" like we've had before. That was also impacted by too few satellites to launch due to the previous generation of spacecraft having longer lives than expected, so nobody was buying replacements.

    BUT....with the far greater market for smallsats and cubesats these days, the guys with a lower lift capacity might do well, due to offering a cheaper launch cost.

  3. And what does Blue Origin offer us? A friggin mockup. Woooooooo.......

    I thnk The Angry Astronaut has said it well on this post: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqT2O2eHE1I&t=1107s

    And Blue Origin's stalling of flight testing hardware affects ULA's Vulcan, well, until LockMart's newest acquisition Aerojet-Rocketdyne can get fast moving...

    Hope SpaceX sticks the landing.

  4. SpaceX made a successful controlled take-off and landing of SN10! But a few minutes after this there was an unscheduled take-off and landing resulting in a RUD. It appeared in the first landing that the craft set completely down on the landing pad. Maybe there was damage or maybe it was normal for methane to vent into the engine compartment. However it was trapped and there was a resulting explosion that sent the rocket about 100 yards into the air. Hey it is an improvement on the past 2 test articles.

  5. It landed hard again. I think I heard them say the landing legs didn't deploy. I could swear I saw it do a little bounce (or two) when it set down. It had a good lean to it, and almost looked a little bent in the middle, but could have been the camera angle.

    I'm guessing it was trapped propellant in the skirt that blew, or perhaps a plumbing leak caused by the hard landing.

    I'll bet they get the next time.

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