SpaceX is looking to test launch its Starship rocket into Earth’s orbit for the second time sometime between late July and mid-August, CEO Elon Musk said in a tweet today (June 13).
Starship is an under-development rocket designed to fly humans to Mars. SpaceX recently began testing a full-size prototype of the spacecraft, which stands nearly 400 feet tall. The company’s near-term goal is for Starship to reach Earth’s orbit in one piece before attempting to send it to destinations like the Moon.
SpaceX performed the first orbital test of Starship on April 20 from the company’s Starbase facility in Boca Chica, Texas. The giant rocket lifted off successfully and soared about 20 miles into the sky before blowing up. The explosion damaged the rocket’s launch pad and scattered debris and dust for miles, prompting a “mishap investigation” by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Musk considered Starship’s first orbital test a success and said in April the SpaceX team “learned a lot for [the] next test launch in a few months.”
In an application to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in May, SpaceX requested a six-month window from June 15 to December 15 to launch a Starship prototype to Earth’s orbit from Boca Chica.
The FCC regulates all spacecraft communication in Earth’s orbit. SpaceX will need a “special temporary authority” from the agency to launch a Starship prototype, as well as permission from the FAA, which issues rocket launch licenses.
6 to 8 weeks
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 13, 2023