FAA grants SpaceX license for debut Starship orbital flight from Texas to Hawaii –Watch It Live on April 17!

FAA grants SpaceX license for debut Starship orbital flight from Texas to Hawaii –Watch It Live on April 17!
We will soon watch SpaceX’s Starship Super Heavy rocket roar to life as it flies to space for the first time! Today, SpaceX officially announced that it targets Monday, April 17, for the debut orbital flight attempt of a fully-integrated Starship launch vehicle. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) finally granted SpaceX a spaceflight license to launch Starship to orbit from South Texas to Hawaii. It took over a year for the FAA to complete an environmental assessment to ensure safe spaceflight operations at Boca Chica. SpaceX shared that Starship is scheduled to lift off from Starbase during a launch window that begins at 7:00 a.m. Central Time and ends before noon on April 17. “Success maybe, excitement guaranteed!” tweeted SpaceX founder Elon Musk. He also shared a photo of the ‘Starship Orbital Flight Test 01’ Mission patch, pictured below. For those planning to travel to watch the launch, it is important to note that the launch date is subject to change if flight preparations do not go as planned. "There is massive uncertainty with a new launch. We don’t know exactly when it will fly," Musk said this evening. There are back-up launch opportunities also scheduled from April 18 through 21.

The stainless-steel Super Heavy rocket is equipped with 33 Raptor V2 engines fueled by cryogenic liquid methane and liquid oxygen, capable of generating over 16.5 million pounds of thrust at full throttle! With the engines' intense force, the vehicle is expected to be very loud as it lifts off, it will generate a loud ‘sonic boom’. “[...] Those in Cameron County and nearby areas may hear a loud noise resulting from the rocket's 33 Raptor engines firing upon ignition and as the vehicle launches toward space, but what individuals experience will depend on weather and other conditions,” the company stated. During launch day, it will take SpaceX a bit over an hour to fully fuel and prepare the vehicles. Starship SN24 is equipped with six Raptor V2 engines, three designed for atmospheric flight and the other three are optimized for the vacuum of space. Super Heavy Booster 7 will propel Starship SN24 to orbit and it will return around 8-minutes later to perform a soft landing in the Gulf of Mexico water, while as SN24 continues its orbital flight in space. Starship SN24 will cruise around Earth for around one hour before igniting its Raptor V2 engines to reenter Earth’s atmosphere and conduct an ocean landing in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii.

“This integrated flight test of Starship is all about improving our understanding and development of a fully reusable transportation system designed to carry both crew and cargo to Earth orbit, help humanity return to the Moon, and travel to Mars and beyond. A live webcast of the flight test will begin ~45 minutes before liftoff,” announced SpaceX. “As is the case with all developmental testing, this schedule is dynamic and likely to change, so be sure to stay tuned to our social media channels for updates. As we venture into new territory, we continue to appreciate all of the support and encouragement we have received from those who share our vision of a future where humanity is out exploring among the stars!” Watch a Live broadcast of the mission in the video linked below. 

Space enthusiasts who would like to visit Starbase to watch the launch must know that Cameron County does close Boca Chica Beach access for safe spaceflight operations and only SpaceX employees with official access will be allowed by security when driving down State 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 along the Island’s beach. “Prior to the flight test, Spacex will establish a Keep Out Zone around the launch site as shown on the map below, and it will be strictly enforced,” the company said. The United States Coast Guard also issues the Marine Safety Information Bulletin regarding the no-boating zones (NOTMARs), the areas in green on the map are the designated boater viewing areas.

Map Source: SpaceX


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All Featured Images Source: SpaceX

About the Author

Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo

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.

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