In recent news, Elon Musk, the CEO of Space X, has hinted that the launch of the first orbital flight of Starship is to be scheduled for next month. But that comes with some ambiguity, as Musk said, “November seems highly likely” for the launch if they can’t make it till October. We all know that this $216 million ultra-super-heavy rocket has been facing a series of delays since January 2022, when its first official launch was scheduled. But unfortunately, due to some constraints imposed by the Boca Chica launch site in Texas regarding environmental considerations, the team has to delay the process.
But this time, Musk seems optimistic as the Starship is almost in the final stages of testing formalities. Upon being asked about the launch by a Twitter user, Musk replied, “Late next month maybe, but November seems highly likely. We will have two boosters and two ships ready for orbital flight by then, with full-stack production at roughly one every two months. ” It has to be noted that the SpaceX Starship was ready to launch in June of this year after getting approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), but the process has again been halted due to some constraints.
If we talk about the test flight of the Starship, it occurred back on May 5, 2021, when the Starship prototype named “SN15” successfully achieved its mission by smoothly landing back on Earth without any explosion. Since then, the team at SpaceX has been planning to officially launch the first orbital mission to space, and this time, it will be conducted with Raptor 2 engines, which are optimally designed to provide 230 tonnes of thrust at sea level. Not only this, Musk also regarded them as “much more capable and reliable”.
SpaceX describes the Starship in the following words, “Starship represents a fully reusable transportation system designed to carry both crew and cargo to Earth orbit, the moon, Mars and beyond. Starship will be the world’s most powerful launch vehicle ever developed, with the ability to carry in excess of 100 metric tonnes to Earth orbit”.
On the other hand, Musk estimated the cost of each Starship launch computed up to $10 million, which is far less than that of the per launch cost of NASA’s mega-rocket, SLS, which is about $1 billion. However, SpaceX says, “In 2023, Japanese entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa and the crew of Dear Moon will become the first civilian passengers on a lunar Starship mission, featuring a fly-by of the moon during their week-long journey. This flight is an important step toward enabling access for people who dream of travelling to space. “