SpaceX is preparing the first orbital flight of its Starship mega-rocket
SpaceX announced Thursday that it plans to conduct a dress rehearsal next week for the first flight of its Starship rocket, intended to take humans to the Moon and Mars, a test flight that will could take place the following week.
“Starship is complete,” the space company said in a tweet accompanied by photos of the rocket showing all of its stages — the first and the second have so far only conducted test flights separately.
“The team is working to conduct a launch rehearsal next week, followed by Starship's first integrated test flight about a week later. later, pending regulatory approvals.”
SpaceX needs the green light from the US civil aviation regulator (FAA) to launch such a flight.
The company had conducted in February, at its base in Boca Chica, in the far south of Texas, an impressive test of the 33 Raptor engines of the first stage of Starship, baptized Super Heavy and 69 meters high.
During a few seconds, in a huge roar, 31 of the 33 engines had ignited, “enough (…) to reach orbit!” exclaimed SpaceX boss Elon Musk on Twitter.
Only the second stage of the rocket made suborbital test flights, several of which ended in impressive explosions.
Starship was chosen by NASA to land its astronauts on the Moon during the Artemis 3 mission, which should officially take place in 2025.
The crew of Artemis 2, which must go to the Moon and then circumvent it without landing there, will be transported by the NASA's SLS rocket, the most powerful in the world at the moment… while waiting for Starship.