Is SpaceX's Starship About to Depart?

Is SpaceX's Starship About to Depart?

There is still no official announcement, but it seems that SpaceX is preparing for a test flight of Starship in Earth's orbit in the next few days (between 10 and 12 April) or the launch system (the most powerful ever created so far) which should take the astronauts of the Artemis 3 mission to the Moon and, in Elon Musk's vision, to Mars and beyond. Here's what we know.

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What is Starship by SpaceX

To the Moon, Mars and beyond . These words sum up the higher purpose of Starship , the latest launch system from the aerospace company SpaceX , founded by Elon Musk . In the vision of the eccentric billionaire it will be thanks to Starship that human beings will not only return to the Moon (he already has a contract with NASA to build the lander of the Artemis 3 mission), but will be able to colonize Mars and prevent the extinction of the species human.

Going back to Earth for a while longer, Starship consists of the most powerful rocket ever built, called Super Heavy , and the Starship spacecraft . Super Heavy is the first module (or booster) and is equipped with 33 Raptor engines fueled by liquid methane and liquid oxygen. Starship, on the other hand, is the second module of the system, a vehicle designed to carry a crew and even very large loads. Important feature: both modules are reusable.

Where are we now

The Starship system has been around for some years now and in this time various prototypes have come and gone: some soon abandoned, others protagonists of high-altitude flights that laid the foundations for what should be the historic test of Starship: the launch into Earth orbit.

In mid-March, Elon Musk had said that the test would take place within the third week of April, but, for the more experienced and informed, the preparations of these days suggest that Starship can also be "turned on" before , between April 10 and 12 .

The clues are several: Ship 24 (the current version of the spacecraft) was taken to the Starbase launch platform in southern Texas and on Monday April 3 the technicians of SpaceX have conducted tests of refueling operations of Booster 7 (the current version of Super Heavy). In addition, navigation warnings have been issued for an orbital launch attempt from Starbase in a time window from April 6 to 12, although official clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) still appears to be lacking. In addition, reports Ars Technica , it seems that NASA has reserved the use of its high-altitude WB-57 aircraft to observe the test flight of Starship between April 10 and 11 .

If the The attempt will actually take place in the next few days, the aim will be to bring Ship 24 into orbit and circle the Earth, to then return to the planet with a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean, near the island of Kauai. Probability of success for this attempt? For Musk it is 50%, but, as he stated in a recent interview, SpaceX is preparing several other prototypes with the intention of launching them in rapid succession in the coming months. The chances of success within the year, therefore, are around 80%.