SpaceX is working nonstop to achieve launching a fully stacked Starship into orbit this summer after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) completed its environmental assessment of the Starbase launch site after 11 months.
The Starship SN24 and Super Heavy Booster 7 prototypes are being quickly prepared for the first orbital flight attempt. Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, declared: “Starship will be ready to launch next month. For the first time ever, there is a rocket capable of creating permanent bases on the moon and Mars.
On June 14th, he tweeted, “I was in the high bay & mega bay late last night reviewing progress. As they prepare for liftoff sometime in July, engineers will shortly be stacking Starship SN24 atop Booster 7 at the launch tower. In August and then on a monthly basis after that, we’ll have a second Starship stack ready to launch, added Musk.
The Pre-Flight Preparations
Super Heavy Booster 7 was moved to the launch pad today, June 23, by SpaceX personnel at Starbase to start the next round of pre-flight preparations. The 33 powerful Raptors that are part of Booster 7 will be put through testing at the launch pad in the coming days.
The Raptors will be ignited for a brief period of time while grounded with powerful clamps at the launch mount during SpaceX’s planned static-fire test of all engines. Watching engineers ignite multiple engines at once for ground testing will be exciting.
The Super Heavy Rocket
With a thrust capacity of nearly 16 million pounds, Super Heavy will soon surpass all other rockets in the world in terms of strength. Residents of Boca Chica claim that SpaceX intends to use the launch tower’s robotic arms for the first time this week to position Booster 7 on the launch mount. The robotic arms, sometimes known as “Chopsticks,” are intended to stack Starship atop Super Heavy and “grab” the stainless-steel vehicles when the mission is through.
To carry out the eagerly anticipated orbital voyage, SpaceX is presently applying for a Starship flying license. An updated flight profile has not been released by the company.
When Will The Rocket Launch Into The Orbit?
The 2021 planned flight path stated that Super Heavy would launch Starship into orbit from South Texas and the booster would return to land in the water along the Gulf of Mexico as Starship continued its journey to land off the northwest coast of Kauai, Hawaii. This information was shared by SpaceX last year in an official document.
Uncertainty surrounds SpaceX’s decision to follow this flight plan or to veer off course and execute a risky maneuver like “catching” the booster with the launch tower. In the coming weeks, the precise orbital flight schedule for 2022 will be made public. To ensure everything is in working order, SpaceX will test all 33 engines on the stainless-steel vehicles prior to launch.
In order to confirm that the spaceship is prepared to launch people and land NASA astronauts on the Moon by 2026, SpaceX wants to execute frequent Starship flights delivering cargo to orbit. The business is working round-the-clock to quickly create a Starship for the Artemis programme that is optimized for the moon.