SpaceX wants to launch Starship to orbit next month, but it may need a little more time
SpaceX's Starship is close to liftoff.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said the company aims to get its fully reusable Starship launch vehicle into orbit for the first time next month.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) concluded its environmental review last week — following a string of delays — clearing the way for Starship to launch from SpaceX's Texas launch site.
Starship's orbital maiden flight
Starship is set to change the aerospace industry by drastically reducing the cost of successive space launches. Unlike SpaceX's groundbreaking Falcon 9 rocket, Starship is fully reusable. Musk has recently announced the company will use the rocket to launch Starlink 2.0 satellites into orbit and that they will also build over one thousand Starships to send more than a million people to Mars by 2050.
The 120-meter vehicle will also help NASA take astronauts back to the Moon's surface for the first time since 1972.
Starship will be ready to fly next month. I was in the high bay & mega bay late last night reviewing progress.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 14, 2022
The FAA announced it found no significant environmental impact stemming from SpaceX's launch site in Boca Chica; the company does have to take care of 75 actions listed in the government agency's 43-page review.
In an interview with Business Insider, Greg Autry, a commercial space industry expert, said most of the FAA's 75 terms are "very trivial, non-engineering requirement" and that many of them could be ticked off at the same time.
However, Autry also said he puts his money on August or September for a Starship launch as not everyone is "a genius that basically never stops working" like Musk.
NASA's SLS and Starship will soon take flight
Musk and SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell have each recently stated they believe the launch of Starship is just around the corner, with Shotwell saying in May it could launch in June, and Musk more recently stating he believes it will get to orbit in July.
Musk is known for overly ambitious deadlines and exaggerating his company's progress. While a thousand Starships by 2050 target feels incredibly ambitious, we wouldn't want to argue against Starship launching next month — especially as it's been waiting to be cleared for launch for some time now.
For the first time ever, there is a rocket capable of establishing permanent bases on the moon and Mars— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 14, 2022
In any case, the summer is likely to be an exciting time for aerospace enthusiasts as SpaceX will be joined by NASA in taking a new launch vehicle orbital.
The U.S. space agency's Space Launch System (SLS) recently passed a wet dress rehearsal, clearing the way for its Artemis I mission launch, with the launch window opening in August.