Elon Musk’s massive Starship rocket, seen here just days before its maiden test flight into space next month.
ELON MUSK is set on putting his mega-rocket Starship to the test within the next few weeks, and he promises an exciting show.
The nearly 400-foot-tall rocket powered by 33 engines is the eccentric billionaire’s crowning achievement.
Prior to any launch attempt in the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) must first grant regulatory approval.
Musk tweeted on Thursday that SpaceX will be ready to launch Starship in a few weeks, with the launch date depending on FAA license approval.
Assuming it takes a couple of weeks, the first launch attempt will be sometime around the third week of April.
Musk’s remark suggests that the launch is scheduled for 4/20, or April 20.
Some see this as a nod to his cannabis use, which he made public on Joe Rogan’s podcast in 2018.
At the company’s Starbase in Texas, the first orbital launch of the next-generation spacecraft will take place.
Starship is the $3 billion rocket that will get humans to the Moon in 2025 and then to Mars in the 2030s.
However, Musk is unsure even if it will reach Earth orbit in its first test flight.
Last week, Musk said at the Morgan Stanley 2023 Technology, Media, and Telecommunications conference, “I am not saying it will get to orbit but I am guaranteeing excitement… It certainly won’t be dull.
As one might expect from a project that involves launching the world’s largest rocket into space, there are some valid reasons for skepticism.
Musk has stated, “This is a very difficult programme,” and that “the rocket is roughly two and a half times the thrust of the Saturn V,” meaning that if and when it reaches orbit, it will be by far the largest rocket to reach orbit.
A fully and rapidly reusable orbital rocket is essential to extending human civilization beyond Earth.
Given the parameters, this is an extremely challenging problem. Due to Earth’s dense atmosphere and powerful gravity, this is only theoretically possible and has never been attempted.
While there is a good chance the test launch will end in a catastrophic explosion, Musk has stated that there is “hopefully above a 50 per cent chance” of successfully reaching orbit.
Up to one hundred passengers can travel between Earth and the Moon and Mars on the Starship.
Crew members will need comfortable living quarters on board because the trip to Mars takes about seven months.
There is no way to know what this will look like, however, until Starship has demonstrated at least orbital capability.
The rocket was conceived from the start to transport over a hundred tons of cargo to Mars and the Moon.
This is so that supplies for establishing outposts in space can be safely stashed away.
Starship’s first stage, the Super Heavy booster, can generate up to 7.6 million kilograms of thrust, making it the most powerful rocket ever built and the tallest rocket ever flown.
That’s almost twice as fast as NASA’s current record, set by the Space Launch System (SLS).
To fulfill a $1.15 billion contract with Nasa, the Starship is being developed to transport astronauts to the Moon as part of the Artemis program.
But it’s also a vital resource in Musk’s pursuit of his Mars colonization goals, which is why he founded SpaceX in the first place.
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