SpaceX’s Next Starship Prototype Could be Headed to Launch Pad on Thursday

Making Moves

SpaceX may be getting ready to push its next Starship prototype onto the launch pad.

According to the latest highway closures in Cameron County, Texas, where SpaceX’s test facility is located, the company’s SN9 prototype could be headed to the pad as early as Thursday, as spotted by Ars Technica senior space editor Eric Berger.

Next Fireball

The new road closures are set for December 17 and 18 from 8 am to 5 pm Texas time. “Starship SN9 and the large crane could head to the launch site during these windows,” suggested NASASpaceFlight reporter Michael Baylor in a tweet.

The news comes after the Elon Musk-led company pulled off a dramatic first high-altitude test flight involving the prototype’s predecessor SN8, back on December 9. While most of the flight seemed to have gone off without a hitch, the 165-foot structure made a harder-than-planned landing, exploding in a massive fireball.

Leaning Tower

While SpaceX has made great progress on its next prototype, called SN9, the updated rocket did experience a small setback, seemingly slouching against the interior walls of the assembly hall where it was stored late last week.

The resulting damage appears to be minimal. SN9 was promptly picked back up again by a giant crane over the weekend.

More on SN9: SpaceX’s Next Starship Prototype Appears to Have Fallen Over

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