This week, Elon Musk provided an update on the timeframe for SpaceX’s maiden orbital flight of its next-generation Starship rocket.
“We’ll have 39 flightworthy engines built by next month, then another month to integrate, so hopefully May for orbital flight test,” Musk tweeted.
Starship is a roughly 400-foot-tall, reusable rocket. SpaceX has been constructing it to create a spacecraft capable of transporting goods and people beyond Earth. SpaceX’s Raptor family of engines power the rocket and its Super Heavy booster.
Musk presented a presentation on Starship in February at the company’s Starbase facility in Texas, explaining the next steps and challenges for the rocket’s testing.
The company has conducted several high-altitude flight tests with Starship prototypes, but its next primary goal is to enter space. While that milestone was supposed to be accomplished last year, development has been delayed, and the orbital flight test is also awaiting regulatory permission.
The Federal Aviation Administration must grant SpaceX a licence. A representative for the FAA stated that March 28 remains the goal date for the completion of an environmental review.