Elon Musk says Starship will be 'ready to fly' into Earth orbit next month

The wait is nearly over.
Brad Bergan
Starship (left), and Elon Musk (right).1, 2

We finally know when it's happening.

Elon Musk said SpaceX's "Starship will be ready to fly next month," in a Tuesday tweet. This comes in the wake of years of ostensibly endless delays and schisms with the federal government — not to mention legal tug-o-wars with other aerospace firms, like Blue Origin, for NASA contracts.

"I was in the high bay and mega bay late last night reviewing process," added Musk, in the same tweet.

Elon Musk's Starship prepares for its first orbital flight

The maiden orbital voyage of SpaceX's colossal moon rocket was pushed back repeatedly, mainly because of the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) environmental assessment, which was concluded on Monday — after an entire year and a half of deliberations — signifying that Starship is cleared for its highly anticipated orbital flights.

Assuming, of course, SpaceX would comply with roughly 75 ecological regulations, related to its launch practices. Now that SpaceX has the green light from the FAA, Starship and the Super Heavy booster equipped below it will soon launch from SpaceX's Boca Chica facility in Sout Texas, Starbase, and begin its journey into Earth orbit.

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Once there, it will reenter our precious atmosphere, and make a landing near Hawaii on a platform awaiting its return. However, while this is a historic leap closer to the first Starship flight into orbit, we should exercise cautious optimism — since it's well-known that Musk often commits to extremely ambitious timelines, which are later delayed due to complications.

This isn't entirely the fault of wishful thinking, remember: no one has launched a rocket with Starship's capabilities into space before. It's the most powerful rocket ever built, can be reused for cargo or human missions, is designed to return humans to the moon as a central pillar of NASA's Artemis program, and is ultimately slated to place the first humans on the surface of Mars. That's a lot for one vehicle to carry on its shoulders.

You could say it's the most ambitious vehicle ever built. And there's more than one.

Elon Musk's SpaceX is leading Space Race 2.0

With several prototypes built, tested, crashed, or recovered, Musk also intends for SpaceX to "have a second Starship stack ready to fly in August and then monthly thereafter," according to a follow-up tweet. That's a world-historical degree of acceleration in rocket construction and launch flow.

But Musk was adamant in his enthusiasm and confidence in his firm's mega-rocket, tweeting: "For the first time ever, there is a rocket capable of establishing permanent bases on the moon and Mars."

That rocket has seen continual development in the tiny town of Boca Chica, Texas, for years. At 400 ft (121.02 m) tall, the "full stacked Starship" stands poised to permanently transform the nature of human spaceflight. All that is required for the rest of us is to sit back and watch. And try not to miss the dawn of a new chapter in Space Race 2.0.