SCRUB: SpaceX high-altitude test flight of Starship SN8 delayed

SpaceX could try again Wednesday and Thursday

SpaceX is preparing to attempt its highest test flight with the Starship prototype SN8 in South Texas. (Image: SpaceX)
SpaceX is preparing to attempt its highest test flight with the Starship prototype SN8 in South Texas. (Image: SpaceX) (WKMG 2020)

With 1 second left in the countdown, SpaceX scrubbed the test flight of its latest Starship prototype spaceship from the company’s South Texas location.

After a long day of anticipation, SpaceX started its live webcast Tuesday evening. With a four minute countdown on the clock the shiny Starship appeared ready to soar but 1 second before ignition mission control announced “Raptor abort.”

The company had a flight window from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. to attempt its most daring test flight yet. Roads in the small beachside town of Boca Chica must be closed ahead of such a test for residents’ safety.

Around noon, SpaceX said teams were still making final preparations for the test and liftoff time was to be determined. Finally, around 5 p.m. the company said it would go for it after 5:30 p.m. but liftoff was delayed after the scrub.

SpaceX has not said what triggered an auto abort.

Additional test windows are possible on Wednesday and Thursday. The company has not said when it will try again.

The private space company hopes Starship can take people to distant destinations, such as the moon and Mars.

This will be the highest and most daring test yet of Starship. The vehicle will launch up to 50,000 feet, then perform a landing flip maneuver and finally come back down to land on the spaceship prototype’s legs.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said in a tweet, there is “probably 1/3 chance of completing all mission objectives” for the test.

This year, SpaceX completed two low-altitude flight tests with two other Starship prototypes at its site in Boca Chica, Texas.

The company put out a disclaimer ahead of the next flight, writing “success is not measured by completion of specific objectives but rather how much we can learn as a whole, which will inform and improve the probability of success in the future as SpaceX rapidly advances development of Starship.”

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