SpaceX’s team in South Texas is outfitting to be prepared for the first combined launch of the Super Heavy booster and Starship mega-rocket when January, expecting the organization to finish launchpad construction, ground testing and gets regulatory approval from the Federal Aviation Administration, founder Elon Musk said Wednesday.
SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said his aerospace firm is focusing on its Starship rocket to launch its first orbital trip in January.
The new schedule principles out a launch before the year’s end. A postponement into 2022 was generally expected as SpaceX anticipates the completion of an environmental review from the FAA, and competitions to complete assembly of a launch pad tower to support the almost 400-foot-tall (120-meter) rocket.
“We’re close to our initial orbital launch,” Musk said in an address to the Space Studies Board and Board on Physics and Astronomy at the National Academies on Wednesday. “We’ve done several sub-orbital flights and have been able to land the vehicle successfully,” he continued, reiterating, “the first orbital flight, we’re hoping to do in January.”
Musk noted that “there is a lot of risks associated with this first launch, so I would not say that it is likely to be successful, but I think we’ll make a lot of progress.”
He disclosed that SpaceX plans to have the launch and launch tower finished later this month, and will direct a series of tests in December to get ready for the launch.
Musk, who is likewise the CEO of Tesla and the richest man in the world on account of his holdings in the electric car behemoth, said SpaceX has assembled a factory to produce Starships, saying, “ultimately, I think for life to become multi-planetary, we’ll need maybe 1,000 ships or something like that.”
SpaceX has brought billions up in funding over the past several years, both to fund Starship and its satellite internet project Starlink, with the company’s valuation recently hitting $100 billion.
SpaceX has spent the past two years ramping up its test program for Starship. The Federal Aviation Administration has been directing an environmental review for the orbital launch program before giving a launch license, and recently the agency said it means to finish the review process before the year’s over.
The first orbital launch will see Starship take off from the organization’s Starbase improvement facility in Texas and head to space before returning for a splash-down landing close to Hawaii.
Starship’s future real payloads additionally incorporate humans. NASA has selected the vehicle as its human landing system for Artemis astronauts to get back to the moon, and Musk’s great desire of building a city on Mars based on various Starship flights.