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As can be seen in the available videos on-line and in the following picture, as the rocket ascends, a horizontal drift in its path can be seen. I have forgotten the calculation of the Coriolis effect since many years has passed, but I guess that the Coriolis effect in this range would be negligible. Am I right? If so, what is the cause of this horizontal shift? Is it intentional or caused by wind, etc.?

composite snapshots of the Starship SN10 test flight path Image borrowed from: https://www.jackbeyer.com/digital/sn10compdigital8

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    $\begingroup$ Cool question and graphic! Can you include a link to the source of the image? Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Mar 5, 2021 at 0:40
  • $\begingroup$ @uhoh The lower right corner mark shows the photographer and the site. However I added a link. $\endgroup$
    – Kamran
    Mar 5, 2021 at 7:54
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the edit! It's good to have it as searchable text and a url directly to the location, in addition to any embedded watermark or other text-rendered-as-images which doesn't really provide an actual link to the source: "it says nasaspaceflight.com in the image, but your link is to jackbeyer.com $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Mar 5, 2021 at 8:06
  • $\begingroup$ @uhoh Jack Beyer works for NasaSpaceFlight but also as an independent photographer. This image is hosted on his personal website. Original idea for such composite Starship image comes from Trevor Mahlmann who first did it for SN8. $\endgroup$ Mar 5, 2021 at 10:44
  • $\begingroup$ Anyone else think that flame in the 3rd-from-last airborne image is the source of the failure that led to the ultimate "relaunch event" ? $\endgroup$ Mar 5, 2021 at 15:50

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It's quite intentional. There's a significant risk that the vehicle will fail during ascent, and then there's the transition to the "skydiver" orientation and controlled descent using the flaps which had never been tried outside of wind tunnels before these tests. They needed to have the ground impact point be somewhere reasonably safe if things went wrong, and also to test the ability of the vehicle to guide itself to the pad during the skydiver descent.

The Falcon 9 boosters similarly come down on a trajectory that requires controlled flight to bring it over to the drone ship or landing pad. This was demonstrated a couple years ago when there was a failure of the grid fin hydraulics, forcing the booster to "land" offshore.

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    $\begingroup$ Do you have a source? $\endgroup$ Mar 5, 2021 at 1:41
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    $\begingroup$ The Falcon 9 booster divert maneuver has been described several times over the years, including here: space.stackexchange.com/questions/32590/…. The hop trajectory here is just an application of the same idea, with a horizontal glide back toward the pad and a sizable divert built into the flip maneuver. $\endgroup$ Mar 5, 2021 at 3:26
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh a wise person once wrote "...we believe that SE answers in science-based sites should always strive to source their facts so that readers can verify and read further. " space.meta.stackexchange.com/q/1649/6944 $\endgroup$ Mar 5, 2021 at 4:40
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    $\begingroup$ hmm...that particular user is more of a wiseguy than a wise person if you ask me, but your point (though obviously poorly sourced) is well taken ;-) $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Mar 5, 2021 at 4:47
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh must be in my ignored tags. Lawyers get paid to argue. $\endgroup$ Mar 5, 2021 at 13:13
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According to Nasa Spaceflight's webcast, that is intentional to do the belly flop maneuver which is how it is supposed to land.

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    $\begingroup$ Can you add a link to the webcast and give an approximate time where the statement is made, and include a short summary or quote of the statement? Currently this is not enough to be a Stack Exchange answer post, but if you can add those then this will be a proper answer. Thanks, and Welcome to Space! $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Mar 13, 2021 at 0:12

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