Starship SN8's 12.5km flight

These photos of Starship SN8’s flight were taken from Isla Blanca Park, on South Padre Island, TX.

I’ve already posted most of these online, but I’ve taken the time to go back and inspect this selection carefully from home, and re-edit the photos as needed. A new perspective is always helpful, especially without the “I-just-watched-a-rocket-launch-and-land-and-explode” jitters.

SN8 the night before

SN8 stands tall after the first day of flight windows ended without a launch.

SN8 engine ignition

Note the interesting lighting effect on the ice-coated tanks.

SN8 launch

Taken about 15 seconds after launch, while the vehicle slowly ascends.

SN8 passes a bird

SN8 flies in the background as a bird casually glides by

SN8 engine shutdown #1

As SN8 ascends, engines are shut down to reduce acceleration and keep top speed manageable.

Starship SN8 apogee vent

Starship SN8 hovers on a single Raptor engine while dumping liquid oxygen.

SN8 apogee reorientation

Starship descends while flipping forwards onto its belly, with residual liquid oxygen venting (or maybe Raptor venting?) still underway.

SN8 Two birds, one shot

A pair of flying machines; one small and lightweight and covered in feathers, one not.

SN8 landing burn startup

A single Raptor engine relights from the header tanks to flip the spacecraft from horizontal to vertical in preparation for landing.

SN8 start of landing flip

Two Raptor engines relight to flip the spacecraft from horizontal to vertical in preparation for landing.

SN8 engine-rich combustion

Unlike the Falcon 9’s Merlin engines, Raptor does not use TEA-TEB ignitor fluid. On Raptor, green is the color of burning copper.

SN8 impact

The moment of SN8’s impact against the landing pad. A lone RCS thruster (or LOX header tank tank vent) is visible at the nose.

SN8 fireball (1)

The fireball produced by the impact; this photo was taken about 3 seconds after impact.

SN8 fireball (2)

The fireball produced by the impact continues to burn itself out; this photo was taken about 7 seconds after impact.

SN8 aftermath

The remains of SN8 (still smoking on the landing pad), and the build site to the right.