It was worth the wait. After several days of delays and a scrub with just 1.3 seconds until lift-off, SpaceX Starship prototype SN8 had its first, and last test flight today.
Originally scheduled to launch earlier this afternoon, there was yet another delay after a plane was spotted in the vicinity of the launch area. After it was cleared, SN8 successfully lifted off from the launch pad in Boca Chica, Texas at 4:40pm CST.
After successfully reaching an altitude of about 50,000ft, the Raptor engines shut off and the Starship prototype majestically floated back to earth.
— Drive Tesla 🇨🇦 #FSDBetaCanada (@DriveTeslaca) December 9, 2020
The next nearly 2 minutes as the Startship made its way back to the launch pad were uneventful, but the final 15 seconds of the flight made up for it. The Raptor engines successful reignited lifting the Starship into an upright position, but unfortunately there was not enough thrust to slow it down and complete a successful landing.
According to Musk, early indications are that low fuel header tank pressure was the main reason for the unsuccessful landing. Despite the large fireball, the rest of the test was a major success for SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and the entire SpaceX team.
Fuel header tank pressure was low during landing burn, causing touchdown velocity to be high & RUD, but we got all the data we needed! Congrats SpaceX team hell yeah!!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 9, 2020
You can watch the entire test flight, which took about 6 minutes, below.