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.

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.

Rafi Letzter
Staff Writer
Rafi joined Live Science in 2017. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of journalism. You can find his past science reporting at Inverse, Business Insider and Popular Science, and his past photojournalism on the Flash90 wire service and in the pages of The Courier Post of southern New Jersey.