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SpaceX launches Starship SN9
Posted: Sat, Feb 13, 2021, 11:22 AM ET (1622 GMT)
For the second time in less than two months, SpaceX launched a prototype of its Starship vehicle on a suborbital test flight Feb. 2, only to have the vehicle crash and explode. The Starship SN9 vehicle lifted off from the company's Boca Chica, Texas, test site at 3:25 pm EST (2025 GMT) on a suborbital flight to an altitude of 10 kilometers. The flight appeared to go as planned until the landing, when the vehicle was unable to properly execute its landing maneuver and smashed into the pad at an angle. The company said little else about the test beyond noting another Starship vehicle, SN10, is already at the test site for a launch possibly later this month. The SN9 flight took place hours after the FAA revealed that the previous Starship prototype launched in December in violation of its license. As a result of that noncompliance with the terms of its license, it required SpaceX perform a review, including "a comprehensive review of the company's safety culture," before allowing the company to proceed with the SN9 flight. The agency said it did not expect to take any further enforcement action against SpaceX.
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