If things go according to plan, we may see a Starship rocket launch as soon as next month. In a tweet on Saturday, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced that its giant Starship rocket – touted to be the most powerful launch vehicle ever to fly and being capable of lifting 100 tonnes of cargo to low Earth orbit – was ready to go orbital.
“If remaining tests go well, we will attempt a Starship launch next month,” Musk said, in a response to a tweet by Texas East Bay Fremont. SpaceX has been looking to launch the pivotal demonstration flight of its Starship rocket system since last year. It will also be the first Starship test flight since May 5, 2021.
The development is unsurprising, especially since Musk had hinted at an upcoming Starship launch in January. Last month, he said that there was a “real shot” at launching Starship in late February, adding that a March launch attempt appeared to be highly likely.
The official date for the Starship launch is yet to be announced. After the Starship takes to the skies (and beyond) will launch from the Starbase spaceport site in Boca Chica, Texas, its rocket booster, Super Heavy, will return to land at Starbase or in the Gulf of Mexico. After the flight, the Starship will land in the Pacific Ocean.
Should the launch be successful (and not end in a fiery explosion), it will mark the beginning of the next chapter in humanity’s spacefaring history. SpaceX has ambitious plans for its Starship rocket system – the company aims for the spacecraft to fly astronauts on missions with NASA to the orbit of the Earth, the moon, to Mars, and even go beyond that. All of this will hinge upon the demonstration flight, which has been long in the making.
SpaceX and NASA will be eagerly awaiting the success of the launch, especially since the former has been chosen to create a commercial human lander for Starship to land humans on the moon as part of NASA’s Artemis program. SpaceX has already been awarded a hefty multi-billion-dollar contract to do so, and a successful launch will go a long way to ensure that the aim of exploring more of the moon is achieved soon. The Artemis 3 and 4 crewed missions to the moon are expected to launch in 2025 and 2027.