SpaceX’s first high-altitude Starship fitted with flaps and rolled to the launch pad
After a four-day delay, SpaceX has successfully installed the first high-altitude Starship at its Boca Chica launch pad not long after the rocket was outfitted with large flaps.
Technically the second time a Starship was outfitted with flaps, Starship serial number 8 had the bottom half of its aerodynamic control surfaces installed on September 23rd – exactly one year after Starship Mk1’s flaps were first installed. Starship Mk1’s flaps were likely meant to be functional but SpaceX never appeared to activate them and Mk1’s main body (tank section) was destroyed during a November 2019 pressure test, failing far before the necessary pressures for flight tests. As such, barring a surprise or two, Starship SN8 will very likely become the first flightworthy prototype to have functional flaps installed.
That remains to be seen, though, and will be put to the test over the next few weeks. If all goes according to plan, the ship could become the first to attempt a high-altitude, 15 km (9.3 mile) launch and landing testing, likely also becoming the first Starship to break the sound barrier.