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 wants to go to the moon and later to Mars have increased the altitude reached. However, they have not yet left Earth’s atmosphere, which can happen during orbital flight.
To do this, the company needs approval from the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The agency is reviewing the application and requirements, but has so far not responded, which could delay launch plans next month.
In that regard, Shotwell acknowledged the possibility of a delay, but said Starship is poised to take off in the coming 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 takes 90 minutes
According to the flight plan developed by the company last month, the prototype will take off from its base in Boca Chica, Texas (USA), powered by the Super Heavy rocket, and ascend to Earth orbit. The ship then begins return maneuvers and lands on a platform in Hawaii.
The experiment, which should last 90 minutes, will make it possible to check the operation of the spacecraft at higher altitudes than has been recorded so far. In its most recent flight, the SN15 prototype “only” reached 10 km before landing without exploding.
The experimental version of the ship is built in stainless steel and is approximately 50 meters high, the equivalent of a 16-storey building. With the Super Heavy rocket, the set reaches a height of 120 meters at launch.