Elon Musk's SpaceX To Launch First Flight Of Starship, The Most Powerful Rocket Ever Built


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Elon Musk’s SpaceX to launch first flight of Starship, the most powerful rocket ever built

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Just months after NASA unveiled to the world the most powerful rocket ever put into orbit, Elon Musk’s SpaceX is ready to launch his own creation that could have almost twice the power of anything that has flown before.

SpaceX’s Starship is currently on a launch pad at the company’s facilities on the south coast of Texas. The company is aiming for a launch at 8:00 AM CT (9:00 AM ET) on Monday, though it has the option to take off any time between 8:00 AM CT (9:00 AM ET) and 9:30 a.m. am Central Time (10:30 AM ET).

“I think I’d like to just lower expectations,” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said during a “Spaces” event on Twitter to his followers on Sunday night. “If we get far enough from the launch pad before something goes wrong, then I think I will consider it a success. Just don’t blow up the notebook.


He added: “There is a good chance that it will be delayed as we will be very careful with this launch.”

This will be SpaceX’s first attempt to launch a fully assembled spacecraft based on a years-long test campaign.

Musk has been talking about Starship — making elaborate presentations about its design and purpose — for five years, and he frequently highlights its potential to bring cargo and people to Mars. Musk has even said that his sole purpose for founding SpaceX was to develop a Starship-like craft that could create a human settlement on Mars.

In addition, NASA has already entered into contracts and options with SpaceX for several billions dollars to use Starship to deliver government astronauts to the lunar surface as part of the space agency’s Artemis program.


The first flight tests will not complete a full orbit around the Earth. However, if successful, it will fly about 150 miles above the Earth’s surface, at heights that are considered outer space.

The starship consists of two parts: a Super Heavy booster, a giant 33-engine rocket, and a Starship spacecraft that sits on top of the booster during launch and is designed to lift off after the booster uses up its fuel to complete the mission.

The massive Super Heavy rocket booster will give the first burst of power on takeoff.

Less than three minutes after liftoff, it is expected to use up its propellant and separate from the Starship spacecraft, leaving the booster in the ocean. Starship will use its own six engines, running for over six minutes, to accelerate to near-orbital speed.


Then the device will make an incomplete circle around the planet, re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere near the Hawaiian Islands. It is expected to land off the coast about an hour and a half after liftoff.

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SpaceX tries to catch part of the rocket with a net, but fails

The ultimate success or failure of Starship matters a lot. Not only is this critical to SpaceX’s future as a company, but it also supports the US government’s human research ambitions.

But that’s not all there is to this first test flight. SpaceX has long declared its willingness to put up with setbacks, bugs, and explosions in the name of perfecting the design of its spacecraft.

In anticipation of the first launch of the company Falcon Heavy rocket in 2018which held the title of most powerful rocket until NASA’s SLS launch last year, Musk saw only a 50-50 chance of success.

“People (came) from all over the world to see what would be either a huge rocket launch or the best fireworks they had ever seen,” Musk told CNN at the time.

The first launch of the Falcon Heavy was ultimately a success.

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See how another SpaceX prototype exploded


– Source: CNN Business

Starship development took place at SpaceX’s private spaceport, about 40 minutes from Brownsville, Texas, on the US-Mexico border. Testing began many years ago with brief “jump tests” of the first spacecraft prototypes. The company started with short flights that climbed a few dozen feet off the ground and then moved on to high altitude flights, most of which resulted in dramatic explosions when the company tried to land them vertically.

However, one suborbital flight test in May 2021 ended successfully.

SpaceX workers make final adjustments to the Starship orbital launcher and Raptor engine array inside the booster on Feb. 8 ahead of testing the company's engines.

Since then, SpaceX has also been working on preparing its super-heavy booster for flight. The massive cylinder is 230 feet (69 meters) high and is powered by 33 of the company’s Raptor engines.

The fully folded Starship and Super Heavy are about 400 feet (120 meters) high.

SpaceX waited over a year to get FAA approval for this launch attempt.

The company and federal regulators tasked with certifying SpaceX launches will not pose a risk to people or property in the launch pad area have faced significant opposition from the local community, including environmental groups.

But the Federal Aviation Administration, which issues licenses for commercial rocket launches, announced on Friday, April 14, that it has granted the company’s request to fly an uncrewed rocket from SpaceX’s South Texas site.

“Following a comprehensive license evaluation process, the FAA determined that SpaceX complies with all safety, environmental, policy, payload, airspace integration, and financial responsibility requirements,” the agency said in a statement.

Speaking to reporters last week, an FAA spokesman, who declined to give his name for publication, said the agency is monitoring SpaceX’s compliance with mitigation measures, some of which are still in development even as the company prepares for launch. .

An FAA spokesman said government personnel will be on the ground to ensure SpaceX is honoring its license during the test launch.

SpaceX’s contract with NASA to use Starship for the moon landing of space agency Artemis III at the end of this decade leaves most of SpaceX’s Starship development work. A $2.9 billion deal signed in April 2021 was awarded to SpaceX over several competitors. It was later expanded to include a second lunar landing mission in 2027.

Over the past year, NASA has been working to align the workflow between the space agency and SpaceX. It’s a dynamic the two organizations have had to smooth over in previous SpaceX-NASA projects, including the current partnership that uses the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

However, a lunar mission requires more powerful and sophisticated equipment.

However, NASA is not involved in planning the flight profile for this test flight or directing SpaceX on what to do, according to Lisa Hammond, NASA assistant program manager for the Human Landing System at Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Hammond did not share a specific test or flight checklist that NASA hopes to see before Starship is tasked with a moon landing mission.

“I wouldn’t put that as a number,” she said, adding that the Artemis II mission scheduled for next year will see people fly the SLS rocket after just one uncrewed test flight.

“Confidence comes from design, confidence comes from the safety of the vehicle for the crew,” Hammond said.

SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell has previously said she hopes the company will conduct more than 100 Starship orbital test flights before putting humans on board, as the company will need to do so to help NASA achieve the Moon landing on the planned Artemis III mission. for 2025.

“I think that would be a great goal,” Shotwell said Wednesday when asked if the goal was achievable. “I don’t think we’ll have 100 Starship flights next year, but maybe (in) 2025 we’ll make 100 flights.”

NASA’s current timeline is targeting 2025 for the first moon landing mission, in which astronauts will transition from their Orion capsule, which will be launched on a NASA Space Launch System rocket, to a Starship spacecraft already in lunar orbit. This will be the Starship, which will take the crew to the lunar surface.

However, it is unclear whether 2025 is feasible. The NASA Inspector General has already suggested that this is not the case. Delays, according to the inspector general’s comments in March 2022can revolve around Starship.


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