SpaceX conducts successful engine test

After weeks of delays, SpaceX at 3:02 p.m. on Thursday conducted a successful static-fire engine test of its SN5 Starship prototype at the company’s Boca Chica test/launch complex. The test, which lasted five or six seconds, paves the way for the first test flight of the SN5, which will mark the first flight of a full-size Starship prototype. Elton Musk, the company’s founder and CEO, tweeted a few minutes after today’s test that “Starship SN5 just completed full duration static fire. 150m hop soon.”

The SN5’s flight up to 150 meters, or 500 feet, could happen as early as Sunday, according to Temporary Flight Restrictions issued by the Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday for the Boca Chica site. The TFRs prohibit aircraft operations from the surface up to 26,000 feet in the area around Boca Chica from 8 a.m. on Aug. 2 to 8 p.m. on Aug. 4.

Also on Tuesday, Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino Jr. announced the closure of S.H. 4 near the SpaceX complex from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. today (Friday) as the primary date, and Aug. 1-2 during the same hours as alternate dates. A flight of the SN5 would be the second test hop to take place at Boca Chica. An earlier, smaller prototype — dubbed Starhopper — flew to an altitude of nearly 500 feet and landed again in a flight lasting slightly less than one minute on Aug. 27, 2019.

sclark@brownsvilleherald.com