Elon Musk says Starship Rocket could go to space as soon as next month
The next flight of Elon Musk’s next-generation space vehicle, Starship, appears to have beenfor over a year now. But now the SpaceX founder’s ambition to send his magnum opus rocket into orbit for the first time in the coming weeks is starting to feel more possible.
When asked on Twitter on Wednesday when Starship’s first orbital flight might finally take place, the the richest man in the world replied“At the end of next month maybe, but November seems very likely.”
A prototype starship labeled(in Earth’s atmosphere) and landed without exploding on May 5, 2021. That was the last time the spacecraft, which NASA hopes to use to return Artemis astronauts to the lunar surface, left the ground.
Since then, Musk and SpaceX have been busy preparing for Starship’s first orbital demonstration flight, which will see the vehicle lift off atop a Super Heavy Booster for the first time. Just this week, the massive first-stage thruster was launched on the test bed for the first time with. That’s more than double the number of engines in the previous test and less than a quarter of the engines that will make up a fully loaded Super Heavy, designed to be launched with 33 engines in total.
In addition to completing testing and preparing Super Heavy, SpaceX needs a launch license from the Federal Aviation Administration before it can launch Starship (not that that requirement ever has).).
So ultimately all eyes are on the FAA, which gave SpaceX interim approval when the launch plan passed key environmental review in June, but with 75 required changes to the mission profile that need to be completed before issuing the licence.
Meanwhile, Musk hopes to do a full “wetsuit rehearsal” of the launch and fire test a 33-engine Super Heavy for the first time in the coming weeks.
When Starship and Super Heavy finally launch together, the test flight will send the former for a brief trip to orbit followed by a splashdown off Hawaii as Super Heavy enters for an attempted landing on a platform modified tanker in the Gulf of Mexico. .