List of Starship Flights: History
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Prototypes of the upper stage of the SpaceX Starship have been flown nine times. Designed and operated by private manufacturer SpaceX, the flown prototypes of Starship have been Starhopper, SN5, SN6, SN8, SN9, SN10, SN11, and SN15. Starship is planned to be a fully reusable super heavy-lift launch vehicle and unusual for previous launch vehicle and spacecraft designs, the upper stage of Starship is intended to function both as a second stage to reach orbital velocity on launches from Earth, and also be used in outer space as an on-orbit long-duration spacecraft.

  • upper stage
  • launch vehicle
  • outer space

1. History

In 2018, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk also planned to send a selection of space tourists (including Yusaku Maezawa) in a lunar flyby in 2023, as part of the dearMoon project. In 2019, SpaceX planned to launch commercial payloads using Starship no earlier than 2021.[1] In the same year, said that SpaceX may fly Starship to the Moon in 2022.[2]

In July 2020, SpaceX anticipated a cargo Starship mission to Mars as early as 2022, followed by a crewed Starship mission to Mars in 2024.[3]

(As of April 2021), the Starships SN16–SN20[4] and Super Heavy Boosters BN2 and BN3[5] are currently in production.[5] All flights have been launched at the Boca Chica launch site in Texas,[6] which SpaceX began to refer to as Starbase after March 2021.[7][8]

Map of SpaceX launch site at Boca Chica.

2. Starship Test Flights

Eight prototype Starship vehicles, each with different vehicle configurations, have flown nine suborbital test flights in the period July 2019 to May 2021. SpaceX testing is proprietary, and the company does not release a detailed set of test objectives for their vehicle development test flights. All test flights have been launched from the SpaceX South Texas launch site at Boca Chica, South Texas.[9]

Date and time
Vehicle Launch site[10] Flight apogee Duration
- 3 April 2019 Starhopper Launch site, Boca Chica, Texas ~0.2 m (1 ft) ~3 seconds
The first firing of Starhopper and the first tethered hop (according to Musk[11][12]). The firing was a few seconds in duration and the vehicle was tethered to the ground. The vehicle might have lifted off the ground, but only to the height of few inches, and it was not possible to see the lift off in public video recordings of the test.[12][13]
- 5 April 2019 Starhopper Launch site, Boca Chica, Texas ~1 m (3 ft) ~5 seconds
Tethered hop which hit tether limits. Used a single Raptor SN2 engine.[14]
1 25 July 2019[15] Starhopper Launch site, Boca Chica, Texas 20 m (66 ft)[16] ~22 seconds
First free (untethered) flight test. Single Raptor engine, SN6.
2 27 August 2019 22:00[17][18] Starhopper Launch site, Boca Chica, Texas 150 m (490 ft)[17] ~1 minute[19]
Single Raptor engine, SN6. Starhopper was retired after this launch, with some parts being reused for other tests.[17][20][21]
3 4 August 2020 23:57[22][23] Starship SN5 Suborbital Pad A, Boca Chica, Texas 150 m (490 ft)[22] ~45 seconds
Single Raptor engine, SN27.[24] A successful 150-meter flight was completed on 4 August 2020.[25]
4 3 September 2020 17:47[26] Starship SN6 Suborbital Pad A, Boca Chica, Texas 150 m (490 ft)[27] ~45 seconds
Single Raptor engine, SN29.[26] A successful test hop took place on 3 September 2020.[26]
5 9 December 2020[28] 22:45 Starship SN8 Suborbital Pad A, Boca Chica, Texas 12.5 km (41,000 ft)[29] 6 minutes, 42 seconds
Three Raptor engines, SN30, SN36, and SN42.[30] The vehicle successfully launched, ascended, performed the skydive descent maneuver, relit the engines fueled by the header tanks, and steered to the landing pad.[29] The flip maneuver from horizontal descent to vertical was successful. Low pressure in the fuel header tank as a result of the flip maneuver caused engine issues and insufficient retropropulsive deceleration, resulting in a hard landing and destruction of SN8.[29]
6 2 February 2021[31] 20:25 Starship SN9 Suborbital Pad B, Boca Chica, Texas 10 km (33,000 ft)[31][32][33] 6 minutes, 26 seconds[33]
Three Raptor engines, including SN45 and SN49.[33][34][35][36] A hard landing destroyed SN9.[37] The cause of the crash was one of the engines not relighting due to an issue with the oxygen preburner.
7 3 March 2021[38][39] 23:15 Starship SN10 Suborbital Pad A, Boca Chica, Texas 10 km (33,000 ft)[40] 6 minutes, 24 seconds[41][42]
SN10 experienced a hard landing with a slight lean and a fire near the base,[43] and then exploded eight minutes after landing.Template:Undue inline[40] The thrust was too low causing the legs & part of the skirt to get crushed. The cause was probably due to partial helium ingestion from the fuel header tank.[44]
8 30 March 2021 13:00[45] Starship SN11 Suborbital Pad B, Boca Chica, Texas 10 km (33,000 ft)[46] ~6 minutes[45]
SN11 launched in heavy fog, and had engine issues during ascent according to Elon Musk.[47] Telemetry was lost midair at T+5:49, shortly after engine re-ignition to perform landing procedures and around 2,000 feet in the air.[48] Debris was then seen falling from the sky, indicating that the vehicle had exploded mid-air.[49] Elon Musk stated that a small methane leak caused a fire on one of the Raptor engines which then eventually fried the avionics of the Raptor.[50]
9 5 May 2021 22:24[51] Starship SN15 Suborbital Pad A, Boca Chica, Texas 10 km (33,000 ft)[52] 5 minutes, 59 seconds
SN15 is a new iteration of prototype Starship with many upgrades over previous vehicles.[53] SN15 launched in low level clouds and achieved a soft landing, with a small fire near the base. (similar to SN10.) The post-flight fire was out within 20 minutes.[54][55]
- TBA Starship SN15 Suborbital Pad B, Boca Chica Texas TBD  
As of 7 May, SpaceX is considering the possibility of flying SN15 a second time.[56] This would be the first reflight of a Starship prototype since Starhopper. On 11 May 2021, Starship SN15 was transported from the landing pad to Suborbital Pad B.[57]
  1. All launches are from the same Boca Chica site. SpaceX started calling this Starbase from March 2021 after discussions called a "casual inquiry". See Boca Chica (Texas) § Starbase
  2. Despite making an intact landing and beginning the detanking procedures, the vehicle suffered an explosion several minutes later destroying the vehicle in the process. SpaceX called it a successful landing but later acknowledged a problem with lower-than-expected engine thrust causing a hard landing[44] way past leg loads[58] and the vehicle exploded.[39]

3. Future Orbital Flights

Based on diverse sources over the past several years, SpaceX has on various occasions made a few public statements about preliminary ideas for future operational orbital flights using the Starship system. All dates for future flights are speculative, and therefore approximate and "no earlier than" dates. Moreover, it is difficult to compare the dates in the tables since they have come from different sources and at different times over the past three years.

Date Vehicle Mission Notes
NET July 2021 Starship Prototype Orbital Test Flight As of March 2021, SpaceX is aiming to launch its first orbital test flight as early as July 2021.[59][60] During the initial flight, the upper stage will attempt a soft ocean landing 100 km (62 mi) northwest of Kauai, and the Super Heavy booster will attempt to land 30 km (19 mi) offshore out in the Gulf of Mexico.[61][62]
NET 2022((As of 2019))[63] Starship Cargo Lunar Test Flight Earliest potential flight to the Moon as of 2019, according to journalist Mike Wall.[2]
NET 2023[64] Starship Crew dearMoon Plan for a flyby loop around the Moon, (As of 2018). Known as dearMoon project.[65]
2022-2024 "planned"[66] Starship HLS HLS Demo NASA demonstration mission for the Human Landing System prior to Artemis 3, announced in April 2021. Includes refueling and landing vehicles.
Starship Cargo (refueling)
NET 2024/5[67] Starship HLS Artemis 3 Human Landing System vehicle for Artemis Program. Date is dependent on many NASA Artemis program and SpaceX Starship development contingencies.
Starship Cargo (refueling)
NET 2024/5 Starship Cargo   Earliest potential cargo flight to Mars.[68]
NET 2026/7 Starship Crew
(Heart of Gold)[69]
  Earliest potential crewed flight to Mars, (As of 2020).[68]

3.1. Other Flights

The HLS variant of Starship was selected by NASA in April 2021 to be the lander for the Artemis missions to the Moon. Artemis 3 is intended to be the first human mission to the Moon to use Starship for long-duration crewed lunar landings as part of the Artemis program.

Elon Musk has stated that Starship would fly hundreds of times before launching with humans.[70] A likely use of some of these flights would be to launch Starlink satellites.[71]

According to space journalist Mike Wall in 2020, Musk is said to envision that eventually more than 1,000 Starships could be needed to depart for Mars every 26 months, which could lead to the development of a sustainable Martian city in 50–100 years.[72]

The content is sourced from:


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  10. All launches are from the same Boca Chica site. SpaceX started calling this Starbase from March 2021 after discussions called a "casual inquiry". See Boca Chica (Texas) § Starbase
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  28. "NOTAM". 
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  42. Despite making an intact landing and beginning the detanking procedures, the vehicle suffered an explosion several minutes later destroying the vehicle in the process. SpaceX called it a successful landing but later acknowledged a problem with lower-than-expected engine thrust causing a hard landing[46] way past leg loads[47] and the vehicle exploded.[43]
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