SpaceX's massive Starship rocket could fly again in '6 to 8 weeks'

Though the SpaceX CEO said the same thing more than a month ago and regulatory hurdles still stand in the way.
Chris Young
Starship at SpaceX's Starbase facility.
Starship at SpaceX's Starbase facility.


SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced that Starship could fly again in six to eight weeks.

Those paying attention to Musk's comments since the first test flight of the fully integrated Starship launch system in April may feel like they're experiencing deja vu; The SpaceX CEO said the same thing just over a week after the rocket's first test flight.

Musk made the latest Starship timeline announcement in response to a Twitter user who asked when the upcoming mission would take place.

Starship test flight No. 2 to lift off in "6 to 8 weeks"

The ultimate goal for SpaceX's Starship flight test in April would have been to fly the massive launch system to orbit and then have the rocket's upper stage fly around the Earth once.

Though this didn't happen — Starship started tumbling before it could reach orbit and SpaceX's team manually triggered an explosion for safety reasons — the April test flight was overall seen as a success, allowing SpaceX to collect a wealth of data for the next launch attempt.

SpaceX is known to take a fail-fast, learn-fast approach. With that mantra in mind, the company is looking to launch Starship again as soon as possible. However, it is currently the focus of a lawsuit levied against the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) that could delay the government agency from giving clearance for a second launch attempt.

This may be partly responsible for Musk's timeline now being the same as it was over a month ago. It could also simply be down to the fact that the development of the world's most powerful rocket to date is an incredibly complex process — so don't be surprised if we get another "six to eight weeks" timeline in a month or so.

SpaceX prepares for second Starship test flight

Still, SpaceX is hard at work preparing for the second launch of Starship. The company recently tested a water-cooled steel plate that it hopes will prevent Starship from blasting a crater into the Starbase launchpad, as happened on the first test flight.

The private space firm also recently rolled a Starship upper-stage prototype, Ship 25, to a suborbital launch pad to conduct a static fire test in preparation for the second launch attempt.

SpaceX's massive Starship rocket could fly again in '6 to 8 weeks'
Starship ahead of its first test flight.

Starship is integral to SpaceX's plan to take many humans to Mars in a bid to make humanity an interplanetary species. To do so, the powerful launch system will be fully reusable, dramatically driving down the costs of successive launches and making human spaceflight to Mars economically feasible.

A modified version of Starship will also be used to take the first humans to the Moon since Apollo 17 in 1972. However, NASA recently expressed concerns that Starship might not be ready for the 2025 launch date of its Moon landing mission, Artemis III.

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