Featured image credit: Trevor Mahlmann
Lift Off Time
|March 3, 2021 – 23:14 UTC | 17:14 CST|
|10 km Test Flight|
|Test Stand A, Boca Chica, Texas, United States|
Did they be attempt to recover the vehicle?
Where did the vehicle land?
|SN10 landed on the landing pad in Boca Chica, Texas. It was destroyed minutes later|
Did they attempt to recover the fairings?
|The fairings – or more accurately, the nosecone – were integrated into the vehicle and were recovered with it|
Were these fairings (the nosecone) new?
How’d the weather look?
|It was a bit cloudy, but acceptable for launch|
This was the:
|– 1st flight of SN10|
– 5th flight of a Starship prototype (7th if you count Starhopper’s two hops; 8th if you also count Starhopper’s short tethered hop)
– 3rd flight of a Starship prototype with a nosecone and aerodynamic control surfaces
– 1st full-sized Starship prototype to land
Where to watch
Everyday Astronaut replay
How did it go?
SN10 lifted off from its launch stand in Boca Chica, Texas at 17:14 CST. It slowly ascended under the power of its three Raptor engines until T+ 2 minutes and 15 seconds, where it intentionally shut one down to decrease acceleration. SN10 continued under the power of two engines until T+ 3 minutes and 13 seconds, where it intentionally shut off a second engine. It continued with one Raptor engine until it reached apogee, where it hovered for a period of time and performed a propellant transition to the header tanks. At T+ 4 minutes and 20 seconds, SN10 transitioned into a horizontal orientation and shut off its third engine.
Starship Descent, landing, and post landing
SN10 remained in a stable configuration throughout the entire skydive phase of its flight, using its two sets of flaps – two forward and two aft – to control itself. It reignited all three of its engines one-by-one at T+ 6 minutes, and transitioned back into a vertical configuration. It then shut off one of its engines (the one with the shortest lever arm). Immediately after that, it shut off a second engine. SN10’s highly successful test flight culminated with a propulsive landing on the landing pad with one Raptor engine.
Unfortunately for SN10, some of its landing legs failed to lock into place, causing it to land on its skirt and bounce upon landing. This damaged parts of the vehicle and likely started a methane leak. Though it remained upright and in one piece for several minutes, an explosion originating from the engine skirt area eventually destroyed the vehicle.
SN10’s post-landing exposing does not in any way detract from its success. SN10 had a highly successfully test flight culminating in a successful landing for the first time.
Starship SN11 is currently sitting in the high bay down the road from the launch site, ready to roll out to the launch pad in the coming days. Several other prototypes, as well as the first Super Heavy booster, are in various states of construction, and will perform their own test flights in the coming months.