SpaceX announced that it would not conduct a high-altitude test of its SN15 Starship prototype recently. The test was scheduled to take place on Friday, April 30. SpaceX has not indicated why it canceled the test and the test is expected to be carried out next week, but this has not been confirmed.
The high altitude test is seen as one of the most significant challenges for the starship prototype test program. To conduct the high altitude test, it is necessary for the prototype to be fueled and launched and then traveled to a high altitude, where it will perform a “belly down” maneuver to turn and try to return to Earth. When the spacecraft returns to Earth, the goal is to land vertically for reuse in the future.
So far, testing of the rocket prototype has not been exactly as SpaceX expected. A prototype successfully landed vertically, only to explode a few minutes later. The last test SpaceX conducted on a prototype starship took place on Monday, April 26. During this test, the prototype was subjected to launch preparations and remained stuck to the ground while firing its engines.
The purpose of this test was to allow SpaceX engineers to ensure that the rocket was working as expected. Typically, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk will go to Twitter and check the details of the tests, but he hasn’t said anything so far about what caused the delay. The last time we heard from Musk was on April 26, when he said that the SN15 Prototype was ready for the static fire test.
Roads in the area around the SpaceX test facility remained closed, indicating that the high-altitude test will take place soon. If the test took too long, the roads would probably have reopened.