SpaceX's long-awaited debut Starship orbital flight test could happen as soon as next week! Space enthusiasts from around the world have been looking forward to this flight since the company announced its plans to develop an interplanetary ‘Big F*cking Rocket’ (a.k.a. BFR) in 2018 which was later renamed to ‘Starship’. The spacecraft has been actively under development since 2019, designed to land NASA Artemis astronauts on the Moon by 2025 and sending the first humans to Mars soon after.
SpaceX plans to fly Starship from Texas to Hawaii during its debut orbital flight test. During which the Super Heavy rocket will liftoff from the Starbase launch site at Boca Chica Beach, Texas, to propel Starship to orbit. The rocket will return to land in the Gulf of Mexico water around 35-kilometers off the Boca Chica Beach shore, while Starship continues to fly over Florida Straits to circle the globe with an altitude of at least 100-kilometers. Then it will perform a propulsive soft landing in the Pacific Ocean along the northwest coast of Kauai, Hawaii. The entire orbital flight journey is expected to take around 1 hour and 30 minutes. The test flight will provide vital data that will help SpaceX engineers speed up the rocket-ship’s development.
According to a U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Operations Plan Advisory released today, SpaceX targets to launch Starship no earlier than (NET) Monday, April 10, launch window that begins at 8:10 a.m. Central Time, with back-up launch opportunities also scheduled for April 11 and April 12. On Twitter, SpaceX founder Elon Musk clicked “like” on a cool video animation of a Starship lifting off that mentions the launch timeline beginning on NET April 10 which is an indicator that the information is accurate. However, the company is still waiting to receive an official FAA spaceflight license which is likely to be granted soon. 04/05/2023 UPDATE: SpaceX completed stacking Starship SN24 atop Super Heavy Booster 7 today. Multiple sources state launch timeline changed, we must wait until FAA issues license or SpaceX officially announces a flight date.
UPDATE: Potential Starship launch timeline has been changed, not NET April 10 anymore. Could be until the third week of April like @elonmusk previously said. 🍀 Guess we will have to wait until the FAA officially issues a launch license to know for sure.https://t.co/aDpNM4SDgm— Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo (@JaneidyEve) April 5, 2023
According to an FAA Operations Plan Advisory released just now, the Starship orbital test flight is targeting Monday, April 10, no earlier than 8:10 AM CDT (13:10 UTC).— Thomas Burghardt (@TGMetsFan98) April 4, 2023
Note: this does not mean that the launch license has been issued.https://t.co/RGVYfHbCMT pic.twitter.com/jrLFTKhaZL
SpaceX are targeting NET April 10 at 12:55 UTC for the launch of Starship’s Orbital Test Flight! 🚀— Primal Space (@thePrimalSpace) April 4, 2023
📹: SpaceX pic.twitter.com/zq6j6LWlYy
SpaceX recently transported the Starship SN24 and Super Heavy Booster 7 prototypes back to the Starbase launch pad where it is undergoing final pre-flight tests ahead of liftoff. NASASpaceflight shared that engineers performed a Wet Dress Rehearsal (WDR) of Booster 7 during which it was filled with cryogenic propellants to simulate launch operations and ensure all systems are working well. The rocket-ship is fueled by a combination of cryogenic liquid Methane (CH4) and liquid Oxygen (LOX). Starship/Super Heavy is expected to become the world's most powerful rocket once it's operational.
Pretty much a booster WDR at this rate. It's LOX and CH4 and filling up nicely. pic.twitter.com/ZKuWjzfctM— Chris Bergin - NSF (@NASASpaceflight) April 3, 2023
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 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 Image 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.