On April 1, SpaceX transported Ship 24, a Starship upper-stage prototype, to its launch location in South Texas in preparation for its first orbital flight test (OFT). As early as April 10 could see the first launch attempt, according to a story from Ars Technica.
Elon Musk claims that the debut of Starship will be exciting: The massive “Super Heavy” first-stage prototype for SpaceX’s Starship launch system, Booster 7, was hoisted onto a launch platform at the same location last week. Before the first try at an orbital launch, the private space company will then place Ship 23 atop Booster 7.
Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, recently predicted that Starship would probably take off in the second part of April. But in a recent story, senior space editor at Ars Technica Eric Berger quoted sources claiming that the launch attempt could happen as soon as April 10th. Musk did mention that SpaceX needs to get permission from the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) before launching, so that could push the launch date back a little.
However, even if SpaceX launches Starship next week, the huge Mars rocket is not assured to reach orbit. Musk recently stated on Twitter that Starship has a 50% chance of achieving space on its first try. “I’m not guaranteeing orbit, but I am guaranteeing excitement,” he added.
After completing that significant task, SpaceX has been steadily advancing Starship’s first orbital launch attempt.
Technicians have added shielding to the launch platform, which will be exposed to intense heat from the 33 Raptor engines that power Super Heavy, ahead of the OFT at SpaceX’s Starbase launch site in South Texas.
The Starship will be the most potent missile in existence: Starship finished a full damp dress practice of Starship in January, which meant it executed all launch operations up until the very last seconds of the countdown.
If everything proceeds as planned for SpaceX, the Raptor engines will make Starship the most potent operational rocket on the entire planet. Before NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), the moon rocket took the crown, the honor belonged to SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy missile.
At liftoff, the SLS generated about 9.5 million pounds of propulsion. The 5 million pounds Falcon Heavy is three Falcon 9 rockets strapped together. Starship is anticipated to launch with a massive 17 million pounds of thrust, breaking the mark held by SLS. SpaceX aims to ultimately send the first people to Mars with the help of that capability and the lower costs associated with the complete reusability of Starship.