SpaceX's Starship rocket might launch on this date

Starship generates a thrust of 17 million pounds during launch with Super Heavy booster and the Starship spacecraft
A representational image displaying a rocket launch. — Unsplash
A representational image displaying a rocket launch. — Unsplash

Elon Musk-owned astronautics firm SpaceX has hinted at sending its one-of-a-kind Starship rocket in the coming few weeks, most certainly in February 2024.

Jessica Jensen, the Vice President of Customer Operations and Integration at SpaceX, said in a media teleconference that the company led by Elon Musk is preparing the Starship for the third flight this month while expressing optimism about obtaining a flight permit from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the upcoming weeks.

“We are working toward Starship flight test three right now,” Jensen said, adding that the SpaceX team at the launch site in Boca Chica, Texas, has already static fired the first-stage Super Heavy booster as part of pre-flight testing.

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When SpaceX’s Starship rocket will launch

“We’re expecting that license to come in February, so it’s looking like flight three will occur in February of this year,” Jensen added while commenting on the FAA’s work to grant flight permission.

The Starship, consisting of the Super Heavy booster and the Starship spacecraft, generates an immense thrust of 17 million pounds during launch, establishing it as the most powerful rocket ever flown. In its inaugural unmanned launch in April of the previous year, an anomaly occurred shortly after liftoff, leading mission controllers to deliberately destroy the spacecraft.

A subsequent test flight in November marked the achievement of stage separation, although the Starship once again fell before reaching orbit.

The space exploration company is currently undergoing testing of the propellant transfer system, a critical component enabling the Starship spacecraft to complete its journeys, along with scrutinising various other systems of the spacecraft.

During the teleconference, Jensen said that although the propellant transfer system “sounds complex and scary,” SpaceX has “actually achieved almost all of the complex parts already on our operational programs, and it’s just going to be piecing them together for Starship.”