SpaceX is aiming to launch its Super Heavy rocket and Starship spacecraft – collectively known as Starship – on Friday after receiving approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
This will be the second unmanned test flight for Starship, following an attempt in April in which it failed to reach orbit. On that flight, an anomaly occurred several minutes after liftoff, causing mission controllers to abort the rocket in mid-air.
This time, SpaceX engineers will be hoping that they have done enough to ensure that the spacecraft reaches orbit the first time.
The Starship flight system could one day be used for crewed flights to the Moon, Mars, and other celestial bodies in deep space. But first, SpaceX must prove it can reach orbit.
what to expect
Using its 33 Raptor engines, Starship will produce a massive 17 million pounds of thrust at launch – more than twice as much as the Saturn V, which produced about 7.6 million pounds of thrust at launch five decades ago. Apollo sent astronauts to the Moon. , and nearly double that of NASA’s new SLS moon rocket, which produces about 8.8 million pounds of thrust when takeoff.
All eyes will be on whether the Starship spacecraft is able to successfully separate from Super Heavy, a crucial process it failed to accomplish during its flight in April. If that happens, Starship will continue in orbit while the Super Heavy booster touches down in the Gulf of Mexico.
At the end of its orbital journey, Starship will touch down in Hawaiian waters, although future flights will aim to land both the rocket and spacecraft so they can be used for multiple missions.
SpaceX will launch Starship on Friday, November 17 from its Starbase facility in Boca Chica, Texas.
please check SpaceX’s social media feed well in advance of launch to be aware of any late changes to the schedule.