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Watch SpaceX launch and (hopefully) land its giant 10th Starship prototype today –



Update, 3:33 p.m. ET, March 3: SpaceX attempted to launch SN10 at 3:14 p.m. ET, but aborted one-tenth of a second before liftoff, just after the rockets fired. After a brief evaluation, the company said at 3:30 p.m. ET that it would make another attempt to launch SN10 about two hours later.

SpaceX appears ready to test its tenth Starship prototype Wednesday (March 3), despite at least one problem in the run-up to launch.

The test of the rocket named SN10 should see the vehicle loft to an altitude of 6.2 miles (10 kilometers) over Boca Chica, Texas before attempting an upright landing. The previous two similar tests of SN9 and SN8 ended with explosions after failed landings, as Live Science previously reported.

Watch NASA Spaceflight’s stream from Boca Chica here on Live Science. 

SpaceX’s giant Starship SN9 is pictured attempting to right itself for landing, just before exploding. (Image credit: SpaceX)

The test flight was originally set to take place earlier in the day, but the run-up to launch was halted. CNBC reporter Michael Sheetz tweeted that SpaceX will still try to launch Wednesday. He reported that a ground vent valve stuck open just when SpaceX was getting ready to fuel up the rocket.

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Starship, as Live Science has reported, is SpaceX’s long-term project to build a vehicle capable of hauling heavy cargo, potentially including several human beings and life support systems, into space. The 160 foot (49 meter) tall, 30 foot (9 m) machine forms the core of the company’s strategy to put human beings on Mars, though in the near term Starship is only slated for use on a joyride around the moon.

So far, the company has not revealed any working systems to clean air, provide water, or otherwise support life aboard Starship, has not finished construction of the Falcon Super Heavy rocket intended to loft Starship into space, and has not landed a Starship without incident. However, the company seems committed to the project, expanding its Boca Chica Starship facility (even going so far as to try to found a new city called “Starbase” at the site, according to local news site CBS4.) And SpaceX has received a $135 million investment in Starship from NASA.

Originally published on Live Science.

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SpaceX Launches And Lands Starship Mars Prototype In Major First, Before It Explodes Again



In a major milestone, Elon Musk’s company SpaceX has successfully landed its Starship vehicle from high-altitude for the first time, as it continues its efforts to launch humans to Mars.

But it experienced a dramatic explosion shortly after landing.

Today, Wednesday, March 3 at 6.14 P.M. Eastern Time, the company’s latest Starship prototype lifted off from the company’s test site in Boca Chica, Texas.

The methane-powered rocket, designed to one day carry humans but uncrewed on this launch, then used its three Raptor engines to climb to a height of around 10 kilometers.

After a brief hover the vehicle then began its descent back to Earth, flipping to perform a horizontal “belly flop” and simulate a future return from space.

As it approached the ground, it flipped back to a vertical position and reignited its engines to attempt a landing.

In the past few months, the company has tried and failed to launch and land Starship on two high-altitude tests, with those previous SN8 and SN9 prototypes crash-landing on both occasions.

This time, however, everything went relatively smoothly. Slightly more than six minutes after launching, the vehicle was back safely on Earth – heralding a crucial step in a new era of human spaceflight.

“Third time’s the charm!” SpaceX engineer John Insprucker commentated in the company’s live stream of the flight.

You can rewatch the action unfold below.

However, about 10 minutes after landing, when SpaceX’s live stream had ended, the vehicle was caught on camera by other observers suddenly exploding.

The cause of this subsequent explosion is not yet clear.

It did appear that the vehicle did not properly deploy its landing legs for the touchdown, while a small fire also broke out at its base after the landing.

And so, while the test itself will be deemed a success, there are clearly a few issues that still need to be ironed out with the vehicle.

Starship is SpaceX’s 50-meter tall reusable experimental vehicle designed to one day take humans to Mars and other destinations in the Solar System.

It will launch on top of a large reusable booster called Super Heavy, the two of them stacking up to 120 meters high, for launches to space from Earth.

Together they would be the largest rocket ever flown in history.

In order to reach that goal, SpaceX has been building Starship prototypes in increasing complexity, with today’s flight being “serial number 10” – or SN10.

Their last launch, SN9, saw the vehicle launch and climb to about 12 kilometers before falling back to Earth, ultimately exploding on the ground in a failed landing attempt.

But Musk has been very vocal about how these prototypes are designed to potentially fail, as the company focuses more on rapid iterations than perfecting each one.

SN10, however, seemed to go almost entirely as planned.

“The key point of today’s test flight was to gather data on controlling the vehicle while re-entering, and we were successful in doing so,” said Insprucker.

“We had a nominal ascent, we had a maneuver to place Starship horizontal, and during the subsonic entry it appears we had good control on re-entry using the front and aft flaps.

“As we approached the landing pad, we successfully lit the three Raptor engines to perform that flip maneuver, and then we shut down two of them and landed on a single engine as planned.

“A beautiful soft landing of Starship on the landing pad of Boca Chica.”

Few, despite the subsequent explosion, could argue with that.

Now, SpaceX will continue with its testing phase, as it moves towards launching Starship to space for the first time later this year.

Source – Forbes

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How a pub trivia night turned into a COVID-19 super-spreader event (INFOGRAPHIC) – The Tri-City News



B.C. health officials have revealed new details of how a single pub trivia night led to the exposure of nearly 300 people across a daycare, industrial sites, a restaurant, a store and the isolation of an entire class at a local school.

“From just one COVID-19 positive person at a pub trivia night…” begins the infographic, before detailing how and where 296 were forced to self-isolate at home.

Over the last few weeks, health officials made veiled references to an unnamed pub trivia night which sparked a secondary outbreak at a Burnaby daycare and led to cases at workplaces and schools. 

While not specifically revealing the location of the pub trivia night — where 24 patrons and four workers initially sparked the chain of transmission — reporting by the Tri-City News confirmed a super-spreader event of the same scale stemming from St. James’s Well in Port Moody. 

Last month, an industry spokesperson confirmed there had been no other COVID-19 transmission events linked to a trivia night in any bar or pub in B.C. 

From the pub night, transmission chains break into three streams, according to the infographic. Two daycare staff are said to have gone to work after attending the trivia night, sparking infections among 27 people linked to the daycare, and another 15 secondary cases.

A second series of transmission events occurred in eight workplaces after people who attended the trivia night went to work sick. Those included: two industrial sites, two offices, a restaurant and a store. 

Finally, contact tracers tracked a third chain of transmission among 10 people who had close contact with someone who attended the pub trivia night. Of those, one school staff member came to work sick, infecting a colleague and triggering the self-isolation of an entire class.

The super-spreader event coincides with a surge of COVID-19 cases across the Tri-Cities in recent weeks. Last week, the BC Centre for Disease Control released data indicating the three cities had one of the highest per-capita rates of infection in the Lower Mainland, on par with Surrey. 

The BCCDC is expected to release updated case numbers over the next 24 hours.

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