Photo: Joel Kowsky/NASA/Getty Images
Today it was reported that SpaceX’s Starship could take to the sky next weekthe most powerful launch rocket ever built, even larger than NASA’s massive Space Launch System, which carried the Artemis I mission to the Moon.
In mid-March, CEO Elon Musk suggested a tentative date: the third week of April for the first test launch of Starshipas SpaceX was still awaiting launch license approval from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
However, Starship was photographed recently on its launch pad by space journalist Nic Ansuini and it appears that most of the FAA assessment is complete, although some environmental issues remain to be concluded.
If it’s fixed soon, the launch could happen next Monday, April 10as first reported Eric Berger of Ars Technicanoting that it appears NASA has reserved the use of its WB-57 high-altitude aircraft to track the progress of the rocket.
Starship is likely to be the rocket that will carry the Artemis program astronauts from lunar orbit to the Moon’s surface and back. It has the ability to be powered in orbit before going from low Earth orbit to the Moon, and maybe one day even to Mars. It can launch crew and cargo into orbit.
SpaceX also envisions the vehicle as a way to put more Starlink satellites into orbit, further expanding this mega-constellation. Starlink is at the center of much controversy as the number of satellites is affecting professional astronomy and contributing to pollution of the natural night sky.
Musk plans to have at least 12,000 Starlink satellites in orbit, likely outnumbering non-Starlink satellites five to one.
The official news about the launch of Starship will probably come in the next few days, but it looks like it will happen this month.
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