SpaceX Starship launch: Elon Musk gives update on potential SN11 flight

The launch of the SN11 has been highly anticipated by SpaceX fans. A test flight had initially been scheduled for the week commencing March 15, but SpaceX has been plagued by delays throughout its testing of all the Starship prototypes.

Following a static fire test on Friday, March 26, Mr Musk said “additional checkouts” will be needed before the SN11 takes to the sky.

A static fire test sees all the engines lit up as the rocket remains stationary on the ground.

Mr Musk did not elaborate on what problems had been encountered during the test, but said the SN11 will remain planted until next week.

The SpaceX chief wrote on Twitter: “Standing down SN11 until probably Monday.

“Additional checkouts are needed. Doing our best to land & fully recover.”

Cameron County, the area in which the Boca Chica testing site is located, has yet to issue any road closure announcements for next week, however.

When the SN11 does finally launch, it will follow the same pattern as its predecessors.

The SN8, SN9 and SN10 all launched 10 kilometres into the sky before cruising for several minutes and then attempting a landing.

Unfortunately for SpaceX, the SN8 and SN9 ended in a ball of flames as they exploded when they attempted to land.

SpaceX had slightly more success with the SN10, completing the landing.

However, the landing was too hard and caused a methane tank to rupture. After eight minutes, the SN10 too went up in a ball of flames.

SpaceX will be determined to ensure the SN11 does not suffer the same fate when it lands.

Starship will need to become fully operational sooner rather than later if Mr Musk is to realise his dreams of getting to Mars before the end of the decade.

Just this week, the South African-born billionaire said on Twitter: “SpaceX will be landing Starships on Mars well before 2030.”