Today, April 6, SpaceX founder Elon Musk provided an updated approximate timeline of when the first ever full-stack launch attempt could be. “Starship is stacked & ready to launch next week, pending regulatory approval,” shared Musk via Twitter. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration still needs to grant SpaceX a spaceflight license. Once the license is issued, SpaceX will announce an exact date of when Starship will launch to orbit. The spacecraft will circle the Earth once and complete the orbital test flight with an ocean landing off the coast of Kauai, Hawaii. SpaceX is expected to release more details of its flight trajectory as the launch approaches.
“Team is working towards a launch rehearsal next week followed by Starship’s first integrated flight test [around a] ~week later pending regulatory approval,” announced SpaceX. The company shared a set of incredible photographs of the massive stainless-steel vehicle fully-stacked at the Starbase launch pad located at Boca Chica Beach in South Texas, linked below.
Starship is stacked & ready to launch next week, pending regulatory approval https://t.co/fLHTjwOMOT— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 6, 2023
SpaceX Starbase teams stacked the test vehicles – Starship SN24 atop Super Heavy Booster 7 – a few days ago to perform final pre-flight preparations. During the upcoming rehearsal, also known as Wet Dress Rehearsal (WDR), engineers will fill up the rocket-ship with cryogenic propellants and simulate launch day operations up until countdown to ensure the vehicle and team is ready for liftoff. The FAA Operations Planning Advisory currently has a NET (no earlier than) April 17 for SpaceX’s Starship orbital flight test. This date has since changed from the previously reported NET April 10. Now, the FAA advisory states Starship’s earliest launch opportunity is on April 17 during a launch window that begins at 7:00 a.m. Central Time, back up launch dates are April 18, 19, 20, and 21. However, it is important to note that all dates are subject to change until the FAA issues the spaceflight license. The weather forecast in the weeks ahead will also play an important role for SpaceX to select a specific launch date.
Reminder – Space enthusiasts who would like to visit Starbase to watch the launch must know that SpaceX does close Boca Chica Beach access for safe spaceflight operations and only people with official access will be allowed by security when driving down Highway 4. The road leading to Starbase also has a Border Patrol security checkpoint. However, the launch will be visible from nearby South Padre Island, Texas, which has multiple tourist attractions and launch viewing areas, including Isla Blanca Park from where the Starbase launch pad is clearly visible to the naked eye across a ship channel, as shown in the video shared by a TESMANIAN journalist, linked below.
The best place to watch a SpaceX Starship launch is "Isla Blanca" at South Padre Island, Texas. Starbase Boca Chica Beach gets closed & only people with official access are allowed due to safety.— Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo (@JaneidyEve) April 4, 2023
✨️ Isla Blanca Address: https://t.co/urcT3M9VWN pic.twitter.com/JVqC0C1Jxa
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Featured Images Source: SpaceX
About the Author
Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.