Starship will likely launch to orbit for the first time in March
We may be just one month from seeing SpaceX attempt to fly Starship to orbit.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk confirmed the launch attempt is likely just around the corner over the weekend when he wrote on Twitter, "if remaining tests go well, we will attempt a Starship launch next month."
SpaceX readies for massive Starship milestone
SpaceX has been undergoing final preparations for the maiden orbital flight of its fully reusable Starship rocket for a few months, having recently carried out a full wet dress rehearsal.
Musk did highlight the difficulty of getting such a complex machine to orbit. The SpaceX CEO corrected a commenter on Twitter who referred to the launch by writing, "*attempt to launch in March. Success is far from certain, but excitement is guaranteed."
If remaining tests go well, we will attempt a Starship launch next month— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 4, 2023
SpaceX and Musk hope Starship will become the world's most powerful operational rocket. That title is currently held by NASA's Space Launch System (SLS), which generated 8.8 million lbs of thrust for its Artemis I mission. However, Starship is expected to blow that number out of the water by generating a massive 17 million pounds of thrust thanks to its 33 next-gen Raptor engines.
Musk has long stated that Starship is part of his mission to send humans to Mars. The rocket will be the first fully reusable human-carrying spacecraft, drastically cutting the cost of successive launches. A modified version of the rocket will also be used as a lunar lander for NASA's upcoming Artemis III mission.
Starship launch to go ahead if "remaining tests go well"
Musk pointed out that a March launch attempt of Starship will occur only if "remaining tests go well". In the coming days, SpaceX will likely carry out a pending 33-engine static fire test on Booster 7, which may allow the company to finally share a specific date for the orbital Starship launch.
The upcoming orbital test flight of Starship will send the 165-foot-tall (50-meter) Starship upper stage, named Ship 24, to orbit atop SpaceX's first stage Super Heavy prototype, Booster 7.
Booster 7 won't come down for a landing for this first orbital test flight. Instead, it will splash down in the Gulf of Mexico shortly after sending Ship 24 on its way to orbit. Once Ship 24 makes it to Earth orbit, it will circle once around our planet before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean near the Hawaiian island of Kauai.
IE has covered technology demonstrations before but these windows are now entering their commercial phase and will be available for purchase soon.