Teslarati today quotes NASA Spaceflight in saying SpaceX wants all the preliminary tests to prepare SN11 for the next 10km test flight to be completed by this weekend.
Twitter user Boca Charts posted this chart of the time from rollout to liftoff over every prototype that has flown.
NASASpaceflight.com reports that SpaceX – already scheduled to transport a new Starship to the launch pad on Monday, March 8th – wants that prototype ready to launch as early as next week.
According to the same report, SpaceX – having already installed three Raptor engines on Starship serial number 11 (SN11) – aims to more or less wrap up all qualification testing by the end of the week. No different than the test campaigns that all other flightworthy Starships had to pass before being cleared for launch, that process includes – at minimum – a good cryogenic proof test and a combined wet dress rehearsal (WDR) and static fire.
Prototypes 5 and 6 were different; they were before using nosecones and had a 55,000 lb weight on the top to simulate that weight. Number 8 went through various tests before taking the first 10km flight. Eileen was slowed down by the incident that gave her that name (leaning into a corner of the highbay) but still almost cut SN8s prep time in half. SN10 didn't improve the time as much but was slowed down by the Texas freeze for a few days, too.
I don't expect SN11 to launch by Monday, but it's possible that it could be next week at some time. That would still be a massive improvement; next Monday is only 7 days in preparation. The following Monday, at 14 days, would still be a launch in 42% of the time SN10 was processed. SN9's 42 days is 79% of the time SN8 was processed. If the turnaround for 11 is the same 79% of 10's 33 days, that's 26 days, which is a few days into April.
If you spent the weekend watching the Lab Padre camera feeds you'll know this, but I don't think that's everybody who drops by here. The Launch Pad camera, Camera 6 went down at some time Friday. I recall switching to look at the feed and being greeted by a black screen. I went back in the recording until I saw it running and eventually found a point where it appears a plastic bag goes over the camera. It stayed that way for a while and then went black. On Saturday morning, I took a look at the Nerdle feed and saw a front end loader putting a shipping container at a curve in the road to give a view essentially identical to what that camera had the previous day. Camera 6 was fully back in operation by Sunday afternoon.
As the day went on, it was being shared that the better, more permanent installation was arranged by SpaceX themselves, and in the scrolling text bar Lab Padre thanks Elon Musk personally for helping them. I find it remarkable that SpaceX puts up with us "tank watchers" watching everything they do live in real time. The cameras are far enough away that faces aren't recognizable, but we see them working every day. Rumors spread that Elon uses the cameras and reads the comments himself. I sure can't verify that, but going out of their way to help restore the camera is a tremendous gesture.