SpaceX’s Starship was supposed to have its first proper test flight last night, finally putting to bed ages of anticipation for the debut of the company’s Super Heavy rocket. Unfortunately, it’s called rocket science for a reason and the launch didn’t take place.
SpaceX opted to cancel the launch of the gigantic interplanetary rocket precursor, thanks to one of those pesky engineering faults. Specifically, a pressurisation valve on the lower of the rocket’s two stages froze up, leading to the company scrubbing the launch.
Starship, take two
The call was made during the launch’s live stream last night, postponing Starship’s fiery ascent for at least two days. 20 April is the expected new launch date, while SpaceX gets that whole sticky valve issue sorted out. Rockets being the incredibly complicated feats of engineering they are, it’s possible that the delay will be longer but, for now, 20 April is the new launch date.
If you’d like to tune in, the updated launch window is from 15:28 South African Standard Time (SAST) to 16:30 SAST on 20 April. At least you’ll be able to bunk off work a little while waiting to see if Starship will get off the ground (or erupt into a gigantic fireball on the pad) instead of staying up late. Either way, it should be a sight to see.
SpaceX said that “…[a]t 146 meters, or nearly 500 feet tall, the launch and catch tower is designed to support vehicle integration, launch, and catch of the Super Heavy rocket booster. For the first flight test, the team will not attempt a vertical landing of Starship or a catch of the Super Heavy booster.”