SpaceX Stacks Starship, Sets Schedule For First Trip To Space


Elon Musk’s Mars rocket won’t be making its first flight to space next week after all, but the week after that is looking pretty good, according to an update from SpaceX on Thursday.

After moving a big Super Heavy booster on to the launch site at its Starbase facility in Texas, SpaceX used its “chopsticks” system to lift and stack the Starship vehicle on top of the first stage rocket this week.

The stack constitutes the full vehicle that the company hopes to send to orbit for the first time this month.

Marine and airspace closures had suggested that SpaceX was looking to launch Starship as soon as Monday. Now it appears the plan is to spend next week running tests including a so-called wet dress rehearsal, which will see the vehicle fueled and run through a pre-launch countdown without actually igniting the engines.

“Team is working towards a launch rehearsal next week followed by Starship’s first integrated flight test,” the company tweeted.

The spaceship could blastoff for its short demonstration flight to orbit followed by splashdown off the coast of Hawaii as early as April 17.

Starship prototypes made a handful of high altitude flights in 2020 and 2021, but we’ve never seen the vehicle leave the atmosphere or launch with the help of Super Heavy.

Starship is designed to be the most powerful rocket ever, out-performing even the massive Saturn V that sent NASA astronauts to the moon. It’s also one of the spacecraft that will send the next generation of Artemis astronauts back to the moon.

Musk has said he also plans to use Starship for launching satellites in the near future and sending humans to Mars a little later on.



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