SpaceX’s Starship rocket is still under development in southeastern Texas and Elon Musk in a tweet said it could be ready to make its first orbital flight attempt next month, provided it gets the regulatory approvals it needs.
According to TechCrunch, SpaceX will require approvals from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to make the attempt, as it has done for all of its previous Starship test flights from its development location outside of Brownsville, Texas.
The FAA requires SpaceX to demonstrate that it has taken all necessary security measures to ensure that there is minimal risk if something goes wrong during the launch attempts.
SpaceX is developing Starship to take people and cargo to the moon, Mars and other distant destinations. NASA has already signed on, picking Starship as the first crewed lunar landing system for its Artemis moon programme.
Starship consists of two elements, a spacecraft called Starship and a giant first-stage booster known as Super Heavy.
Both will be fully reusable, and both will be powered by Raptors, six for the final Starship and 29 for Super Heavy.
SpaceX is prepping the vehicle for an orbital flight test in the coming months, a first for the Starship programme.
Starship prototypes have launched before, but those were three-engine (at most) vehicles that reached a maximum altitude of about 10 km.