SpaceX's Starship might take off next week, Musk tweets

Musk has hinted that SpaceX's ambitious Starship should be able to complete its first-ever test flight to space sometime next week.
Christopher McFadden
SpaceX's Starship rocket
SpaceX's Starship rocket


According to a tweet from Elon Musk, we may see the first test launch of SpaceX's mighty Starship by the end of next week (week of April 17, 2023). This would mark a significant milestone for the company, which has been developing the spacecraft for many years.

SpaceX has been preparing for the ground-breaking flight for months, and the preparation has recently picked up speed. For example, workers were seen preparing the space-bound Starship last week at Starbase, SpaceX's facility in South Texas, by stacking the prototype Ship 24 upper stage on top of the Booster 7 first stage on the orbital launch rack.

Many people said that this activity shows that the Starship project is getting close to being ready for an actual launch. Given Musk's recent tweet, this would seem to support this hypothesis.

Besides this public announcement, Musk didn't provide a more precise timeframe, but it's possible that he had April 20 in mind because it's a significant holiday in the cannabis-consuming community. This would not be unusual, as the multibillionaire businessman enjoys making jokes and references to the date (4/20 or 420). In a tweet from last month, he seemed to hint at the prospect of an April 20 debut.

However, the schedule is not totally under SpaceX's control. The business is awaiting a US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) license for an orbital launch. Therefore, it is generally best to hold off on booking any flights to South Texas.

In case you are unaware of what Starship is for, SpaceX is creating it to ferry cargo and people to the Moon, Mars, and potentially beyond. Musk thinks that the huge vehicle's ability to be used more than once will change how people travel to space.

And the spaceship is mighty indeed, with 33 of SpaceX's new Raptor engines powering the Super Heavy first stage of Starship, while the upper-stage spacecraft has six Raptors. When Starship successfully launches for the first time, its 33 first-stage engines will provide 16.5 million pounds of thrust, making it the most powerful rocket in history.

For now, however, NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) mega-rocket, which generates around 8.8 million pounds of thrust upon takeoff, currently holds the record. The SLS debuted when NASA's Artemis 1 lunar mission launched in November 2022.

Starship is the tallest rocket ever constructed, reaching a height of 394 feet (120 meters) when fully stacked. But as Musk recently stated, it will grow even more.

On Saturday, he tweeted (shown above), "Ship will probably expand by another 10m or more."

Add Interesting Engineering to your Google News feed.
Add Interesting Engineering to your Google News feed.
message circleSHOW COMMENT (1)chevron
Job Board