Two weeks after the launch of the starship sn8, the cleanup of the Boca chica launch pad at SpaceX is still underway. just the almost-intact nosecone yet to be moved from its resting place. Elon has intimated the nose cone will be preserved in honor of SN8’s incredible achievement. SpaceX is preparing for the second altitude test with the launch of the future Starship SN9.
what is SN9
It is 165 feet high and made of stainless steel. SN9 is expected to fly to 12.5 km before a likely push to the original goal of between 15 and 20 km with a future Starship. It appears two Raptors were installed for the rollout. Super Heavy is the booster that SpaceX will eventually use to fly Starship for orbital launches. Super Heavy will be around 240 feet tall and will include 28 Raptor engines to provide it with the lift capacity needed to break Earth’s gravity.
On the morning of Dec 11, the rocket tilts about five degrees before colliding with a sidewall of the “high bay” storage building near the sn9 launch pad. the nosecone surface of the rocket was damaged. Seemingly allowed its flaps to absorb the bulk of the impact. More of the world’s rockets are either built out of aluminum or carbon fiber. A small collision would likely be the end of any normal propellant tank. So at minimum extensive repair would be required.
After the accident
Nine days after the incident, Starship SN9 was hoisted back to a fixed position by a crane. Six days later, on December 20, SpaceX quietly replaced the starship’s crumpled forward flap. they were taken from the nose of the Starship SN10. which itself is undergoing mating operations inside the Wind Break facility. All proved to be in good condition. But it would be difficult to remove the damaged hardware and install a new flap quickly. SpaceX moves the crane needed to lift the starships from the construction site to the launch pad B on December 21.
requiring only single cryo-proof testing run with Liquid Nitrogen, followed by a triple-Raptor Static Fire test. SN9 is expected to take to the air on either side of the New Year. SN9 will now undergo ground tests before hopefully doing its flight test later on. Musk’s tweet that two prototypes will be stood up next to each other on Pad A and Pad B at the Boca Chica site could indicate the pace of these test flights might speed up,