SpaceX Founder and CEO Elon Musk recently took to Twitter and hinted that the much-anticipated Starship—currently undergoing upgrades in preparation for its upcoming maiden flight—could launch as soon as November.
Responding to a question from a curious Twitter account asking about updates for Starship’s orbital flight date, Musk responded, “Late next month maybe, but November seems highly likely. We will have two boosters & ships ready for orbital flight by then, with full stack production at roughly one every two months.” As usual, his tweet garnered thousands of likes and hundreds of retweets.
This comes only two days after Musk tweeted a 12-second video with the caption “7 engine static fire” showing a stationary and partially-assembled Starship firing its engines and kicking up clouds of sand and dust that enveloped the booster within seconds. He followed this tweet with a second one saying “Great for clearing dust!”
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As stated, Musk wants to make humanity a multiplanetary species, especially on Mars, and he wants to use Starship to accomplish this goal. He came one step closer to this reality when his teams constructed a fully stacked Starship in Boca Chica, Texas in July 2021. When fully assembled, Starship is taller than any rocket ever built, surpassing the height of the Saturn V by 10 meters (33 feet), and is anticipated to produce more than twice the thrust of the Saturn V at nearly 7.7 million kilograms (17 million pounds) of force. SpaceX states on its website that Starship’s payload capacity to low Earth orbit will be over 100 tons, which is almost as much as the Saturn V (130 tons).
Musk has a long-standing reputation of being very active and open on his Twitter account regarding his aspirations for making humanity a multiplanetary species someday. On August 31, he said via his Twitter account that SpaceX is “aiming for up to 100 flights next year”, even as his private launch company has already launched a record-shattering 42 times in 2022 and is preparing for its 43rd launch this weekend. For context, SpaceX had 31 successful launches in 2021.
For now, Starship is still being tinkered with in Boca Chica as we await official word as to when it will have its maiden flight. Will Starship have a successful launch on its first attempt, and will it eventually be the ship to take humanity to Mars and beyond? Only time will tell, and this is why we science!
As always, keep doing science & keep looking up!
Featured Image: SpaceX’s Starship performing a static fire of its first stage at Boca Chica, Texas, in September 2022. (Credit: SpaceX)