SpaceX: Starship’s first orbital test flight could take place in July. The possibility was mentioned by Gwynne Shotwell, president of SpaceX, during the International Space Development conference held virtually by the National Space Society on Friday (25).
In tests since 2020, the prototypes of the spacecraft with which Elon Musk intends to go to the Moon and later to Mars have increasingly increased the altitude reached. However, they have not yet left Earth’s atmosphere, which can happen in orbital flight.
To do so, the company needs authorization from the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The agency is reviewing the application and reviewing the requirements, but has not responded so far, which could delay takeoff plans next month.
In that regard, Shotwell acknowledged the possibility of delay, but said Starship is ready to take off in the next few days. “I hope we make it, but we all know this is difficult. We’re really about to fly that system, or at least try the first orbital flight,” he said.
Travel should take 90 minutes
According to the flight plan detailed by the company last month, the prototype will take off from the base in Boca Chica, Texas (USA), propelled by the Super Heavy rocket, ascending to orbit. The ship will then begin return maneuvers, landing on a platform in Hawaii.
The experiment, which should last 90 minutes, will allow checking the operation of the spacecraft at altitudes higher than those recorded so far. In the most recent flight, the SN15 prototype reached “only” 10 km before landing without exploding.
The experimental version of the ship is built in stainless steel and is about 50 meters high, the equivalent of a 16-story building. With the Super Heavy rocket, the set reaches 120 meters high at launch time.