SpaceX fans waiting for Starship’s first orbital test flight may not have to wait much longer. After a series of delays in obtaining test flight clearance and continued development and testing of the Raptor engines, Starship could finally launch as soon as next month.
Indeed, on Twitter, CEO Elon Musk announced that it is possible that it will take place at the end of next month, as two boosters and two separate ships will be ready for a possible launch by the end of October. However, the billionaire clarified that it is still possible that this deadline cannot be met, adding that the Starship’s first orbital flight was more likely to take place in November.
SpaceX will finally launch its massive Starship rocket into orbit
It has now been over a year since SpaceX successfully landed the first stage of its Starship rocket. This exploit had been preceded by numerous unsuccessful tests which had ended in explosions, but the company finally seems ready to aim for space with Starship.
Earlier this week, SpaceX’s rocket booster underwent a series of tests with seven Raptor 2 engines at the same time, and all passed. The B7 booster has 33 of these engines, and footage taken at the site by dedicated observers revealed the test lasted a few seconds without incident.
Between now and launch, SpaceX will continue to modify its rocket engines, but these improvements will only be intended to ensure the “reliability” of the machines and to protect them in the event of an accident. These engines are the rocket’s most valuable components, and the risk of losing them all to an isolated accident on just one is too high.
Either way, if Starship’s first orbital launch test is successful, it will mark a milestone in space exploration. As a reminder, Elon Musk is aiming for 2030 for the first flights to Mars, but Starship should by then be used by NASA as part of its Artemis mission to the moon.