SpaceX and its CEO, Elon Musk, are gearing up for a potential launch of their highly anticipated Starship rocket in the coming month. The launch, which is contingent upon the successful completion of ongoing tests, will serve as a crucial proving ground for the reusable spaceship’s ability to transport astronauts on missions to the moon. As part of NASA’s Artemis program, SpaceX has a contract to develop a human landing system for lunar exploration. Elon Musk confirmed the launch plan in response to a query on Twitter, affirming that if all tests go according to plan, SpaceX will attempt to send starship into orbit in March. The goal for SpaceX is to demonstrate the versatility and capability of starship as a vessel for crewed missions to not just the moon, but also Earth orbit, Mars, and beyond.
In 2021, NASA chose SpaceX to be the provider of a commercial human landing system for its Artemis program, granting them a contract valued at nearly $3 billion. The plan is for SpaceX’s starship to transport astronauts to the moon for the Artemis 3 and 4 missions, scheduled for 2025 and 2027 respectively.
Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, has been teasing the public about an imminent launch attempt and suggested it could happen as early as late February or March. The upcoming test flight for the starship will take off from the Starbase spaceport in Boca Chica, Texas, according to federal documents. The Super Heavy rocket booster, which will accompany the starship, will either return to the Starbase or land in the Gulf of Mexico after the flight. Meanwhile, the starship itself is expected to touch down in the Pacific Ocean.
SpaceX has yet to announce an official launch date for their starship and has not commented on requests for information. In July of last year, a prototype of the Super Heavy was tested at the Boca Chica testing facility, but the test ended in failure as the engines burst into flames on the test pad and caused an explosion.
The incident was captured on video and shared on Twitter, to which Elon Musk responded, “Yeah, actually not good. Team is assessing damage.” Despite the setback, SpaceX remains determined to continue testing and improving their technology for future launches.