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According to recent reports, SpaceX may conduct an orbital test flight of the Starship vehicle the following week.

As soon as the following week, SpaceX’s massive Starship Mars rocket might make its initial attempt to enter orbit for the first time.

The Starship that SpaceX is constructing will be able to transport passengers and freight to destinations beyond the moon and Mars. Both the massive first-stage booster known as Super Heavy and the upper-stage spaceship known as Starship in the deep space transit system are planned to be totally reusable. Super Heavy is the name of the booster, while Starship is the name of the upper-stage spacecraft.

Since the beginning of this year, SpaceX has been preparing for the very first orbital test flight of a Starship spacecraft. This historic mission will be carried out by the Super Heavy prototype Booster 7 and a Starship vehicle with the designation Ship 24.
Elon Musk, founder and CEO of SpaceX, stated in the middle of March that the historic mission, which would take out from SpaceX’s Starbase facility in South Texas, might perhaps launch as early as the third week of April. Yet new information and events point to the possibility that the attempt might occur even sooner than that.
For instance, over the weekend, many Starship observers noticed that SpaceX rolled Ship 24 out to Starbase’s orbital launch pad (opens in new tab). In addition, the corporation carried out fueling tests with Booster 7(opens in new tab) while it was mounted on the orbital launch platform on Monday (April 3), while Ship 24 was positioned on the ground nearby.

In addition, as reported by a satellite tracker based in the Netherlands named Marco Langbroek, navigational warnings have been issued in preparation for the Starship’s attempt to enter orbit (opens in new tab). These alerts cover the period from April 6 through April 12 inclusive.

It would indicate that SpaceX has no intention of attempting to reach the earlier portion of the projected timeframe. First off, according to what Elon Musk mentioned around a month ago, the corporation is still waiting for a launch licence from the Federal Aviation Administration in the United States.
Nonetheless, Eric Berger of Ars Technica believes that April 10 or April 11 are also viable options for the date of the event.

According to what Berger reported over the weekend, NASA appears to be making preparations to make a provisional reservation for “the use of its high-altitude WB-57 aircraft for observations of the Starship test mission on April 10 and 11.” (opens in new tab). Because NASA plans to utilise the Starship vehicle as a lunar lander for its astronauts as part of the Artemis moon missions, the organisation is keeping a close eye on SpaceX’s development with the big rocket.

During the orbital test flight, an attempt will be made to send Ship 24 on one lap around the Earth. The test flight will culminate with Ship 24 splashing down in the Pacific Ocean close to the island of Kauai in Hawaii.

Musk previously stated that there is approximately a 50% probability that Starship would succeed on its first attempt. But SpaceX is currently working on multiple Starship prototypes at Starbase, and once they are complete, the company intends to launch them in pretty short succession one after the other.

During an interview on March 7 at the Morgan Stanley Conference, Elon Musk remarked, “So I think we’ve got, hopefully, around an 80% chance of reaching orbit this year” (opens in new tab).

Mike Wall is the author of the book “Out There,” which was published in 2018 by Grand Central Publishing and was illustrated by Karl Tata. This book is about the quest for extraterrestrial life. You may find him on Twitter under the handle michaeldwall (opens in new tab). You can follow us on Twitter (@Spacedotcom) or on Facebook (opens in a new tab) (opens in new tab).

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