Countdown to History: SpaceX’s Starship Awaits Launch Approval for Orbital Test Flight

April 16, 2023
1 min read
SpaceX's Starship Awaits Approval
Image Source: SpaceX Twitter

There is a gleam of SpaceX’s Starship in the sunrise over the company’s Starbase facility in South Texas. The Starship vehicle is ready and waiting to make its debut test flight. The first-ever Orbital flight of Starship is targeted for April 17, but that date is yet to be confirmed. A final “flight readiness review” by space engineers has been completed for the launch system. A huge first-stage booster called Super Heavy & a 50-meter-tall (165-foot) upper-stage spacecraft known as Starship are parts of the launch system.

Stunning photos of the Starship were shared by SpaceX on Wednesday, April 12. The new photos shared on Twitter capture the Starship up close, including an aerial view of the rocket’s nose cone. A video, taken on April 5, of the rocket being lifted into place on the launchpad was also shared by the company. It was announced by Elon Musk that the vehicle was “awaiting regulatory approval” but otherwise “ready to launch” on Sunday, April 9, via Twitter.

A launch license must be secured by SpaceX from the US Federal Aviation Administration before the company can secure a flight date. SpaceX hopes to launch Starship in the coming days, perhaps as early as April 17, according to the current reports.Preparations by SpaceX continue for a launch attempt as soon as next week. The company technicians removed the Starship upper stage from the top of the Super Heavy Booster late Tuesday night & lowered it to ground level using  two articulating “chopstick” arms on the nearly 50-story-tall launch pad tower. The Starship’s flight termination system work was expected to be completed with the help of the “de-stack”. 

The Starship will be stacked on top of the Super Heavy booster before the launch countdown by SpaceX. With its 394 feet (120 meters) height, the fully stacked vehicle is larger than any rocket in history. The rocket will be powered for takeoff and its inaugural test flight by a cluster of 33 methane-fueled Raptor engines, each generating about a half-million pounds of thrust.

Collectively known as Starship, the Starship spacecraft & Super Heavy rocket are designed to be fully & rapidly reusable. SpaceX aims to use the Starship launch system for missions to the Moon & Mars, pending a successful test flight. Starship was chosen by NASA to be the first crewed lander for its Artemis moon program. Two separate Starship trips around the moon have been purchased by Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa & American engineer & entrepreneur Dennis Tito.

Govind Tekale

Embarking on a new journey post-retirement, Govind, once a dedicated teacher, has transformed his enduring passion for current affairs and general knowledge into a conduit for expression through writing. His historical love affair with reading, which borders on addiction, has evolved into a medium to articulate his thoughts and disseminate vital information. Govind pens down his insights on a myriad of crucial topics, including the environment, wildlife, energy, sustainability, and health, weaving through every aspect that is quintessential for both our existence and that of our planet. His writings not only mirror his profound understanding and curiosity but also serve as a valuable resource, offering a deep dive into issues that are critical to our collective future and well-being.

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