Putting into the words of SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk, The next-generation Starship rocket, may make its voyage into space as early as January or February of 2022. During a virtual conference of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on Wednesday, Musk provided an update on the timeline for the next launch of the current prototype of the spaceship.
“We’ll do a bunch of tests in December and hopefully launch in January,” Musk said. “There’s a lot of risks associated with this first launch, so I would not say that it is likely to be a success, but I think we will make a lot of progress.”
According to the company’s CEO, Elon Musk- around dozen test flights could take place in 2022, to launch “real payloads” in the following years.
During the past couple of years, SpaceX has been steadily increasing its test program for the Starship. To get a launch license, the FAA has been undertaking an environmental study of the orbital launch program, and lately, the agency stated that it hopes to conclude the approval process by the end of 2021. It will take off from SpaceX’s Starbase facility in Texas and journey to space before splashing down in Hawaii for the first time.
Nearly 400 feet tall, the Starship with its giant booster will be the world’s largest rocket to ever take to the skies. Humans will be included in future genuine payloads carried by Space’s Starships. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has a lofty plan to develop a city on Mars, and NASA has chosen the vehicle as the human landing system for Artemis to fly to the moon. Starship already has a few paying customers. For example, Yusaku Maezawa, a Japanese billionaire, has reserved the vehicle for a voyage around the moon in 2023.
Musk has also stated that Starship can even aid humanity in making a giant leap from the red planet to Ceres- the biggest object currently in the asteroid belt. It’ll all be okay as long as there are some propellant depots to refuel the starships along the way. “I think, for life to become multi-planetary, we’ll need maybe 1,000 ships or something like that,” Elon said.
Starship is composed of two components, one of which is a massive first-stage rocket known as Super Heavy, and the other is a massive spaceship measuring 165 feet (50 meters) in height. With six Raptor engines in Starship and 29 in Super Heavy, SpaceX’s next-generation Raptor propulsion system powers both Super Heavy and Raptors.
“Ultimately, Starship is designed to be a generalized transport mechanism for the greater solar system,” Elon Musk commented.
Even if SpaceX wanted to set up the mission right now, it couldn’t since the FAA is inspecting Starbase’s orbital launch activities as part of an environmental assessment. By Dec. 31, the assessment is scheduled to be completed, and SpaceX plans to launch as soon as possible.