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SpaceX may launch and land its newest Starship rocket prototype on Monday. With any luck, it won't explode.

SpaceX may launch and land its newest Starship rocket prototype on Monday. With any luck, it won't explode.

Left: SpaceX founder Elon Musk looks upward during a press briefing on March 2, 2019. Right: SpaceX's Starship serial No. 8 rocket-ship prototype launches from a pad in Boca Chica, Texas, on December 9, 2020.
Dave Mosher/Insider; SpaceX




SpaceX is preparing to launch the latest prototype of its Starship spacecraft — a system that could one day carry humans to Mars.




The new prototype, called serial No. 9 or SN9, is set to rocket tens of thousands of feet in the air, belly-flop toward the ground, and re-fire its engines to flip upright and land.




SpaceX's first attempt at such a flight with SN8 was successful — save for the Starship slamming into and exploding on the landing pad.




SpaceX has permission to launch SN9 as soon as Monday, according to government notices.




Several live video feeds should broadcast the launch attempt, so bookmark this page; we'll embed them closer to launch.




Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.


SpaceX is preparing to rocket the latest prototype of its Starship spaceship thousands of feet into the air, then attempt to land it gently back on the ground.If the company can successfully pull off this tricky maneuver - cutting the rocket's engines back on as it plummets toward Earth, just in time to turn it upright, slow its fall, and steadily set down on a landing pad - it will be the first time a Starship vehicle has ventured so high and returned in one piece.Elon Musk, who founded SpaceX in 2002, wants the final Starship-Super Heavy launch system to be fully and rapidly reusable. If Musk's plan succeeds, Starship may slash the cost of reaching space 1,000-fold, power round-the-world hypersonic travel on Earth, and fly astronauts to the moon. Musk has said that his ultimate plan is to build 1,000 Starships that will carry enough people and cargo to Mars to build an independent, self-sustaining city there.SpaceX last launched a Starship prototype of this kind the first time on December 8. Called Starship serial No. 8, or SN8, roared tens of thousands of feet above the company's expanding facilities at Boca Chica, Texas. SN8 then tipped its nosecone forward, cut off its engines, and began to plummet. As the vehicle neared the ground in a sideways, belly-flop freefall, it re-fired its engines to flip upright and slow its descent.
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