Development on SpaceX’s next-generation rocket has been ramping up down in Boca Chica, Texas. So far SpaceX has conducted two 150-foot test hops of their SN5 & 6 but their goal has been to conduct a 15 km flight. This launch could possibly happen as soon as next week but there has been no positive confirmation of that. SN8 stands on the launch mount at the Boca Chica test site with a few new pieces of hardware on it ready for this test.
The past two test hops were conducted with stripped-down test tanks. No aerodynamic surfaces, a single raptor engine, and a mass simulator. SN8 sits with a new nose cone, full aerodynamic flaps on the aft and nose cone, and 3 raptor engines. SN8 performed a static fire of its 3 raptor engines back on October 20th. That static fire looked to be successful but SpaceX ended up swapping out one of the engines. Because of this, we are expecting them to reattempt that static fire.
“The entire Rio Grande Valley, specifically Brownsville, Texas, alongside the entire community of space exploration enthusiasts are anxiously waiting for the upcoming SpaceX SN8 15-kilometer hop,”Josh Mejia, executive director of the Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation
Road closures were scheduled for November 6-8th but they were canceled. Leaving only the next road closures filed with Cameron County for Monday, November 9th with backup dates for Tuesday and Wednesday.
SpaceX does not post publicly their testing schedule except for tweets from SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. Unless SpaceX wants to get risky with their expensive Raptor engines, we don’t expect to see the 15 km flight until there is another static fire conducted. They have made several attempts but have been stopped due to weather. We will know more on Monday if they will plan for a static fire.