SpaceX’s Starship awaits FAA approval for an orbital launch attempt

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Last week, SpaceX announced that it is ready to launch the fully stacked Starship spacecraft for a first orbital flight test following a launch rehearsal this week and pending regulatory approval. Now SpaceX CEO is Elon Musk to confirm it’s done, with launch “trending towards the end of the third week of April,” Musk wrote in a tweet Monday.

Starship is SpaceX’s long-awaited flagship spacecraft designed to take astronauts and payloads to deep space – including the Moon and, of course, Mars. Most importantly, the parts are designed to be reusable, and it combines with a massive booster known as the Super Heavy to get it off the face of the Earth.

SpaceX followed that up with this five minute all-CG reel from Starship on missions to Mars, complete with refueling and a glimpse into Musk’s idea for an outpost on the planet.

SpaceX’s Starship is fully prepared for testing at the company’s Starbase facility in Boca Chica, Texas. Starship faced many launch delays, including a major setback last summer when the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) determined there would be some environmental impact around the base.

But now all that’s left to get Starship and Super Heavy off the ground is a permit from the FAA. “The FAA will not make a licensing determination until the agency is satisfied that SpaceX meets all licensing, safety, and other regulatory requirements,” an FAA spokesperson said in an email. Unpleasant The street.

According to the FAA Operational Plan Advice, the Super Heavy may be scheduled to launch on April 17, with backup dates for each subsequent day through the 22nd. Communicate resources Unpleasant Ars Technica say SpaceX is working closely with the FAA and it is expected that the regulatory agency will finally grant a license.

Should the April 17 launch date materialize, that means SpaceX is only a week away from launching the Super Heavy, which has never happened. It is expected that the Super Heavy and Starship will separate after launch, at which point the Super Heavy will head to the Gulf of Mexico while Starship will travel in orbit. Shortly thereafter, Starship will re-enter Earth’s atmosphere and land vertically in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii.