Starship’s first orbital test flight could occur as soon as next week, Elon Musk said.
SpaceX has recently released stunning photos of its enormous Starship spacecraft stacked for launch at the Starbase facility located in South Texas.
The upcoming launch marks a major milestone – the initial orbital test flight of a Starship vehicle. According to a tweet by SpaceX on April 6th, the Starship is now fully stacked and the team is working towards a launch rehearsal in the following week, with the first integrated flight test set for a week after, pending regulatory approval. The tweet included three images of the massive stainless-steel rocket, showcasing its impressive size and design.
According to a recent tweet by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, the launch of the Starship spacecraft could take place as soon as next week, provided regulatory approvals are granted. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had initially set a potential launch date for Monday, April 10th, but has since issued a provisional launch window for April 17th, between 7:00 and 11:00 a.m. EDT. However, it’s worth noting that the FAA has yet to issue a launch license for the Starship flight.
The Starship vehicle, which includes a Super Heavy booster and a Starship upper stage, stands tall at 394 feet (120 meters) when fully stacked for launch. This powerful rocket is poised to become the most potent ever launched once it takes to the skies.
One of the photos released by SpaceX on Thursday depicts the Starship spacecraft from afar, captured against the picturesque coastal backdrop of Starbase, located on the Gulf Coast of Texas.
The following photo shared by SpaceX presents a closer view of the Starship spacecraft from a low angle, highlighting the fully reusable rocket’s impressive design. With a capacity of up to 150 metric tons to low Earth orbit, the Starship represents a significant step forward in rocket technology. Another image, taken from an overhead perspective, showcases a striking close-up of the tip of the upper-stage prototype Ship 24, which was successfully mounted on the Booster 7 first stage on April 5th.
SpaceX has ambitious plans for the Starship spacecraft, envisioning it as a vehicle capable of transporting people and cargo to the moon and Mars. Despite the fact that Starship has yet to make an orbital flight, some customers have already reserved spots on the spacecraft. NASA, for example, has selected Starship to be the initial crewed lander for its Artemis moon-exploration program, with plans to make an astronaut touchdown by 2025. Meanwhile, billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has purchased a Starship journey around the moon, complete with a team of eight artists. American engineer and entrepreneur Dennis Tito also intends to fly on a different Starship mission that will circumnavigate the moon, accompanied by his wife and other passengers who have yet to be announced. It is currently unclear when these two private Starship moon missions will be launched.