SpaceX is preparing to test launch its revolutionary Starship rocket by March—pending further delays.
- Starship is a reusable heavy-lift vehicle set to hold the record as the tallest and most powerful rocket ever launched, beating the launch of Artemis I in November, which previously held the record.
- Starship performed several static fire tests in November and December following reports that the test launch could happen before the end of 2022.
- CEO Elon Musk confirmed on Saturday, January 7, that SpaceX is aiming for a late February or March launch window for the first suborbital test flight. “Starship launch attempt soon,” he confirmed on Thursday.
- Space X announced on Monday, January 9, that Starship 24 had been loaded onto Booster 7 on the launch platform.
- “Teams are stepping into a series of tests before Starship’s first flight test in the weeks ahead, including full-stack wet dress rehearsals and hold down the firing of Booster 7’s 33 Raptor engines,” says SpaceX.
Why It’s News
SpaceX has redefined the future of space exploration with its Falcon rockets, which use reusable rocket boosters and components that have drastically lowered the cost of space travel. Starship is the next evolution of its plans, as it will provide the same reusable features and allow for up to 100 tons of material to be launched into each mission into orbit.
Starship will play a significant role in the upcoming Artemis lunar landing missions and likely be the platform SpaceX uses to transport astronauts to Mars. Its first lunar tourism mission, dearMoon, is scheduled for 2023.
SpaceX has been developing a heavy-lifting vehicle since before the final launch of the Falcon 1 rocket in 2010 and presented some of the Starship’s original concepts in 2016. The starship would be unveiled in 2019, and the company began to book private space flights.
“Musk has been pushing for Starship’s orbital test flight, setting a series of unrealistic timelines in the past year. In June 2022, Musk declared that Starship would be ready for its first orbital flight in July, shortly after getting the go-ahead from the Federal Aviation Administration for the site expansion in Boca Chica. However, the company still needs to fulfill an outstanding list of regulatory requirements before Starship 24 can fly,” says Yahoo News.