Elon Musk reveals preparation date for Starship’s next flight

Following the second integrated test flight of SpaceX’s Starship vehicle on Saturday, the company’s CEO Elon Musk said the world’s most powerful rocket would be ready to take off again before the end of the year.

In a social media post shared Monday, Musk wrote, “Starship Flight 3 hardware should be ready to fly in 3-4 weeks,” adding that the necessary hardware is in “final production.”

Starship Flight 3 hardware should be ready to fly in 3-4 weeks. There are three ships in final production in the Upper Bay (as seen from the highway).

– Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 20, 2023

But while SpaceX may be ready to fly the Super Heavy booster and Starship spacecraft (collectively known as Starship) in December, that doesn’t mean it will actually get the vehicle off the ground at that time. , because it first needs a launch permit from the Federal Aviation Administration. (FAA).

Shortly after Saturday’s flight, the FAA wrote on social media that the agency would oversee an investigation by SpaceX into the mission failure. Once this operation is completed, the FAA may consider issuing a launch permit for the Starship’s third flight.

Like the first uncrewed test flight in April, the second flight ended explosively, although SpaceX engineers considered it a success for achieving successful stage separation and flying longer than the first unmanned test flight in April. initial effort in the spring.

The SpaceX team was also pleased to find that its newly designed launch pad comfortably supported the Super Heavy’s colossal 17 million pounds of thrust – nearly double that of NASA’s new Space Launch System rocket – with Musk commenting through the following that it was in “excellent condition”.

This marks a major improvement over the previous base, which was completely destroyed by the immense force and pressure exerted by the Super Heavy’s 33 Raptor engines during launch in April. The obliteration of the platform sent concrete and other debris over a wide area, forcing SpaceX engineers to come up with something much more robust.

SpaceX hopes to one day use the Starship for crewed missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond, but there are clearly many tests to be completed before that can happen. What Musk and his team are hoping for is a greater frequency of test flights so they can move more quickly toward their ambitious goal.

If you missed Saturday’s launch, check out these extraordinary images captured as the 400-foot-tall rocket roared toward space.

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