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By Brandon Lingle, San Antonio Express News • November 5, 2020

SpaceX’s 17-story-tall Starship could blast off from its South Texas launch pad sometime next week, according to documents filed with the Cameron County Court.

The primary launch window is between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Monday for the 50,000-ft. flight.

To date, the spacecraft’s highest test flight has reached about 500 feet.

Missiles and rockets are often visible hundreds of miles away from their launch sites depending on factors such as the size and trajectory of the craft, sky conditions and curvature of the Earth, according to Sam Ximenes, CEO of XArc, a San Antonio-based space architecture company.

San Antonio is about 300 miles from Boca Chica, near Brownsville, so there’s a possibility that residents could see Starship in flight. Of course, the chances are better the further south people are.

“The entire Rio Grande Valley, specifically Brownsville, Texas, alongside the entire community of space exploration enthusiasts are anxiously waiting for the upcoming SpaceX SN8 15-kilometer hop,” said Josh Mejia, executive director of the Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation.

The Starship is the craft that SpaceX CEO Elon Musk hopes will someday shepherd people to the moon, Mars and beyond.

Alternate dates for the test are during the same 12-hour time frame Tuesday and Wednesday.

SpaceX has not formally announced the launch, but the Starship — formally known as the Serial Number 8 prototype, or SN8 — has met the necessary development and testing milestones over the past several weeks.

The entire Rio Grande Valley, specifically Brownsville, Texas, alongside the entire community of space exploration enthusiasts are anxiously waiting for the upcoming SpaceX SN8 15-kilometer hop

Josh MejiaExecutive Director, BCIC

SN8 must endure a static test fire before the 60,000 flight, according to the filing.

“Although it is possible that anything can occur during this test, the activity itself will still be considered a success in terms of elevating the support of space activities in Brownsville, Texas, and increase the interest of leaders in the space exploration industry to consider our area for future growth,” Mejia said.

SpaceX’s Boca Chica launch site, near South Padre Island and Port Isabel as well as Brownsville, currently employs around 3,000 people, according to Mejia.

Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño Jr. authorized SpaceX to close Boca Chica Beach and portions of State Highway 4 ahead of the planned launch.

Musk said in a tweet Monday that the company will stream video of the launch, “although it might be quite a short livestream! Lot can go wrong, but we’ll provide video, warts & all. You will see every frame that we do.”

The military, SpaceX and a San Antonio company — XArc — are collaborating on a study to determine whether the Starship is capable of moving cargo anywhere in the world in an hour or less.

In addition to the Starship’s progress, SpaceX has had a breakout year so far. It’s sent the first NASA astronauts to space from American soil since 2011 and celebrated the 100th successful Falcon 9 rocket flight. It’s also landed an Air Force contract, worth billions, to launch 40 percent of the nation’s classified payloads from 2022 to 2024.

The company is also building a constellation of Starlink satellites that’ll provide global broadband internet.

SpaceX did not respond to a request for comment.

FULL ARTICLE HERE