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SpaceX says no Starship launch on Monday

·1-min read
This screengrab made from SpaceX's live webcast shows the Starship SN10 prototype during a test flight after engines were ignited just before the test was aborted

SpaceX has postponed the latest test flight of its prototype interplanetary Starship rocket from the company's south Texas facility, Elon Musk said Monday.

"FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) inspector unable to reach Starbase in time for launch today," the company's founder and CEO tweeted.

"Postponed to no earlier than tomorrow."

No launch window has so far been provided for Tuesday.

The company is hoping to finally perform a successful test flight after the last three attempts ended in spectacular explosions, and had been granted a five hour window for spaceflight activities by local authorities on Monday.

SN11 is the 11th prototype of Starship, which SpaceX hopes will one day be able to fly crewed missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond.

It will be the fourth to conduct a test flight, ascending to an altitude of six miles (10 kilometers) before returning to the ground for a soft vertical landing.

SN8 and SN9, which launched in December and February respectively, crash landed and exploded, while SN10 successfully landed then blew up a few minutes later during its test on March 3.

Despite the previous failures, analysts say SpaceX is gathering valuable data that will help it to accelerate its development timeline.

Eventually, SpaceX plans to combine the Starship spaceship with a Super Heavy rocket, creating a fully reusable system.

This final version will stand 394 feet (120 meters) tall and will be able to carry 100 metric tonnes into Earth orbit -- the most powerful launch vehicle ever developed.

ia/ft