SpaceX Starship launch delay: Elon Musk says SN9 is ‘waiting for FAA review’ as fans rally

SpaceX conduct static fire engine test on Starship SN9

SpaceX fans are hoping to see the Starship Serial Number 9 (SN9) take to the skies this week after three weeks of delays and dashed hopes. The present iteration of the spacecraft prototype is due to launch and land at Boca Chica, South Texas, during its first suborbital test flight. SpaceX’s last attempt to land a Starship prototype did not end well for the 160ft (50m) rocket, which blew up on the launchpad.

But news of a launch date has been scant and a combination of poor weather and hardware problems have scuppered SpaceX’s plans so far.

Two weeks ago, a triple static fire test of Starship’s engines left SN9 in need of repairs.

Another attempt at a triple engine test was aborted three times the following week, and strong winds in the launch area have forced SpaceX to abandon Monday’s launch window.

With Monday being a no go and Starship not launching on Tuesday either, fans were hoping Wednesday could be the day Starship takes to the skies.

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But even these plans were dashed by SpaceX chief Elon Musk, 49, who told his Twitter followers SN9 was waiting for a review by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

An anxious fan tagged Mr Musk on Twitter in a meme about “waiting for hop”, to which he replied: “Waiting for FAA review…”

The FAA has already issued multiple flight restrictions around SpaceX’s Boca Chica facility this week.

The temporary restrictions cite “space operations” and have been issued for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Waiting for FAA review…

Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO

However, Cameron County Judge Eddie Travino Jr has called off planned road closures around Boca Chica today, meaning a Wednesday launch is looking rather unlikely.

Michael Baylor of NASASpaceflight tweeted last night: “The road closure for Wednesday has been cancelled, ruling out Starship testing or a flight test.

“The earliest that Starship SN9 could fly is now Thursday.”

Wind forecasts for Boca Chica also seem unfavourable, with WillyWeather predicting up to 27mph winds today.

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SpaceX fans have shared their frustrations about the delayed launch on social media.

One SpaceX fan tweeted: “SN10 will be a launch site before SN9 launches.”

Another person said: “Hi, SN9 and freakin stupid weather, also I feel SN10 will launch before SN9.”

A third person said: “No launch for SN9 this week. Weather looks less than ideal. #SpaceX won’t risk it (IMO).

“Monday looks like the best shot next week but conditions will most certainly change as we get up to the date. The wait continues.”

SpaceX is developing Starship as its flagship, multi-planetary launch vehicle.

Starship will launch on top of the Super Heavy booster rocket and both will be completely reusable.

Together, Starship will stand 394ft-tall (120m) and carry up to 100 tons of cargo into space.

Mr Musk has envisioned a fleet of Starships helping humans colonise the Moon.

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