If all goes well, SpaceX should be ready to launch Starship on its first orbital flight early next year.
That’s according to CEO Elon Musk, who spoke about the launch at a meeting of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine Sports Board on Wednesday.
“We’ve done several sub-orbital flights, and have been able to land the vehicle successfully. The first orbital flight we’re hoping to do in January,” Musk said.
Ahead of the launch, there will be a number of tests in December to ensure they can gain regulatory approval. Musk also explained that crews have completed construction of the vehicle, and are nearly finished building the launch pad and launch tower.
“We’ve completed the first orbital booster and first orbital ship, and we will be complete with the launch pad and launch tower later this month.”
The launch will bring a lot of excitement, but Musk tempered expectations by saying the chances of a successful flight are slim. He remained confident however that Starship will get to space in 2022.
“There’s a lot of risk associated with this first launch, so I would not say that it is likely to be successful, but we will make a lot of progress.”
The first orbital launch, if it takes place in January, will kick off what will be a blockbuster year for Starship launches.
SpaceX is aiming for as many as 12 test flights in 2022, before launching with real payloads in 2023.