SpaceX is targeting either January or February of next year for the first orbital launch attempt of its Starship.
This is according to SpaceX's CEO, Elon Musk, who made the announcement during a meeting with the Space Studies Board and Board on Physics and Astronomy. Musk also said that his company is targeting at least a dozen launches next year.
The Starship is the SpaceX spacecraft that is meant to take both humans and payloads to destinations such as the Moon and Mars. It has two parts: the Super Heavy and the main Starship spacecraft.
The ongoing environmental assessment of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on the launch site of the Starship, which is known as the Starbase, will affect the date of the first launch attempt of the spacecraft.
SpaceX Targets Early Next Year for Launch Attempt
SpaceX is targeting a launch date sometime in January or February of next year for the first orbital launch attempt of the Starship.
According to a report by Space, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said his space company is planning at least a dozen Starship launches for 2022. Musk said this during the fall meeting of the Space Studies Board and Board on Physics and Astronomy.
The orbital test flight will involve a Starship prototype known as SN20. Per the report by Space, the SN20 "has the full complement of six Raptors and a 29-engine Super Heavy known as Booster 4."
What is the Starship?
According to Space, Elon Musk has described the Starship as "designed to be a generalized transport mechanism for the greater solar system."
The Starship has two main parts: a first-stage booster known as the Super Heavy and the Starship spacecraft itself, which is about 165 feet tall.
Both parts are powered by Raptor engines. The Super Heavy will eventually have 33 Raptor engines while the Starship spacecraft has a total of six.
"SpaceX is developing this ambitious transportation system to get people and payloads to the moon, Mars and other distant destinations," according to Space.
Environmental Assessment of the FAA
One of the factors that will determine the date of the Starship's first orbital launch attempt is the ongoing environmental assessment being conducted by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The environmental assessment is being conducted on the Starbase, which is the Starship's launch site that is located in Texas.
Last month, Elon Musk took to Twitter to tell the public that their "support makes a big difference" in the midst of the ongoing assessment.
"Please let the FAA know your opinion," the SpaceX CEO urged the public as the FAA invited comments on its initial draft of its environmental assessment.
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Written by Isabella James