Second Starship Rocket Test Launch Takes Shape14th Jun 2023
SpaceX, the private aerospace company founded by Elon Musk, is gearing up for a second test launch of its ambitious Starship rocket into Earth orbit. According to a 13 June tweet by CEO Elon Musk, the test launch is scheduled for sometime between late July and mid-August.
When is another Starship launch attempt?
SpaceX launched the inaugural orbital test of the Starship on April 20 from its Starbase facility in Boca Chica, Texas. The rocket took off without a hitch, and soared approximately 20 miles into the sky. However, it then exploded, causing damage to the launch pad and scattering debris and dust over a wide area. The incident prompted the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to initiate a thorough “mishap investigation.”
Despite the setback, Elon Musk considered the first orbital test of the Starship a success and stated in April that valuable lessons were learned for the next test launch, scheduled a few months later.
In an application to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made in May, SpaceX requested a six-month launch window from June 15 to December 15. This window would enable the company to launch a prototype of the Starship into Earth orbit from the Boca Chica site. Given that all spacecraft communication in Earth orbit falls under the jurisdiction of the FCC, SpaceX needs to obtain “special temporary authority” from the agency to proceed with the launch. Additionally, the company requires permission from the FAA, which holds the authority to issue rocket launch licenses.
A game-changing rocket
testThe Starship rocket has already been selected by NASA to serve as the lander for the Artemis III mission. This mission aims to bring astronauts back to the lunar surface for the first time in over 50 years, with an official target date set for 2025. Standing at 120 meters, the Starship surpasses the lengths of NASA’s new mega-rocket, SLS (98m), which made its inaugural flight in November, and the iconic Saturn V rocket used during the Apollo lunar program (111m).
A successful test of the Starship spacecraft would clear the path for NASA to employ a modified version of the vehicle to facilitate the landing of the first woman and the first person of colour on the lunar surface. This landmark mission, set to occur no earlier than 2025, marks a significant step in human space exploration. Moreover, the Starship could serve as a reliable transport for delivering essential supplies to the Moon, supporting the construction of NASA’s proposed lunar base. As for the long-term vision, NASA has set its sights on the late 2030s for the first manned mission to Mars..