SpaceX fans who have been waiting for the first Starship orbital test flight might not have to wait much longer. After a series of delays in receiving test flight approval and ongoing development and testing of the Raptor engines, Starship could finally launch as soon as next month.
When asked for an update on the timeline for a test flight, Elon Musk said there is a chance it could happen late next month as two separate boosters and Starships will be ready for a possible launch by the end of October.
Musk said however there is still a chance that timeline might not be able to be met, adding that Starship’s first orbital flight is more likely to happen in November.
Late next month maybe, but November seems highly likely. We will have two boosters & ships ready for orbital flight by then, with full stack production at roughly one every two months.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 21, 2022
It has been a while since we last saw a Starship launch from the Boca Chica SpaceX facility.
The last launch took place back in early May when SN15 launched to an altitude of about 10km, or about 33,000 feet before gliding back to earth. After roughly 6 minutes of being in the air, SN15 reignited its Raptor engines and successfully landed on the landing zone.
Unlike the previous test flight, SN15 survived the landing and did not end up exploding.
Since then SpaceX has been developing it next generation Raptor 2 engines which are twice as powerful as its predecessor, but at the same time cost half as much.
For the test flight thirty three of those Raptor 2 engines will launch a Super Heavy Booster, with Starship sitting on top. The flight will take off from Texas and travel most of the way around world before Starship splashes down off the coast of Hawaii.