This summer, SpaceX’s huge Starship spaceship could begin flying in earnest.
Elon Musk announced that his rocket Starship would be ready for its first orbital flight in July. His comments came only hours after the FAA completed an environmental evaluation of the Starship launch site and gave the rocket’s development the green light.
The billionaire entrepreneur noted on Twitter that SpaceX would prepare a second fully-loaded Starship in August, after which the company will launch rockets monthly.
“Starship will be ready to fly next month. I was in the high bay & mega bay late last night reviewing progress”, Musk’s tweet read.
“We will have a second Starship stack ready to fly in August and then monthly thereafter”, he said in a second tweet.
The company is presently striving to meet the Federal Aviation Administration’s environmental impact criteria, which were announced this week (FAA). The FAA stated in its official release on the environmental study that “no major damage” was caused on the Boca Chica launch site in Texas. However, it did impose specific requirements on SpaceX before awarding a launch permit.
SpaceX will have to make over 75 improvements to meet the FAA’s requirements to reduce the impact of a Starship launch even more. According to CNBC, the FAA has asked SpaceX to protect water resources, restrict noise levels surrounding the launch site, and minimise the number of biohazards. In addition, the FAA expects the company to keep the local Boca Chica beach clean.
The company had wanted to execute the Starship orbital flight test as early as last summer, but delays in development and regulatory certification kept pushing that date back.
The company had hoped to conduct the Starship orbital flight test as early as last summer, but delays in development and regulatory approval continued to push back the timetable.
According to Musk, the Starship rocket now manufactured at SpaceX’s Starbase in Boca Chica will be the most powerful rocket ever built. Musk previously stated that “for the first time ever,” there is a rocket capable of creating permanent communities on the moon and Mars, alluding to Starship.
With the lower stage super-heavy booster and the top stage Starship spacecraft, the rocket will tower about 400 feet tall when completed. It has a propulsion capacity of 1,200 tons and a payload capacity of 100-150 tons. However, the super-heavy rocket has a propellant capacity of 3,400 tons and can transport payloads of up to 7,950 tons.