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SpaceX aims for next Starship test flight in February

Published Jan 10th, 2024 3:52PM EST
spacex starship inaugural launch reveal
Image: Miguel Roberts/The Brownsville Herald via AP

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SpaceX hopes to conduct the third Starship test flight as early as February. The last two flights haven’t exactly gone as planned, but both have been deemed successes by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

Jessica Jensen, vice president of customer operations and integration at SpaceX, says securing an updated Federal Aviation Administration launch license is the main thing holding up the third test flight for SpaceX’s massive rocket.

“From a hardware readiness perspective, we are targeting to be ready in January,” Jensen explained. SpaceX has already conducted static-fire tests for the Super Heavy booster and the upper stage for Starship’s third test flight. The original intentions were to launch in late December, but February is likely the earliest we’ll see it happen. (via

Space X Human Landing System
Illustration of SpaceX. Human Landing System. Image source: SpaceX

Of course, SpaceX is still working on correcting some issues that were identified during the second Starship test flight back in November. That flight, along with Starship’s first launch, saw the rocket exploding before it could complete its entire run.

Despite the explosive nature of the first two test runs, Elon Musk has often praised what SpaceX is doing with Starship, even citing both of those tests as successes despite them not being completed. And, based on everything that SpaceX is doing here, they have successfully pushed the rocket design’s progress to new heights.

Starship has some very big boots to fill, too. The Human Landing System will see parts of Starship utilized to deliver astronauts to the moon during the Artemis III mission. That mission has since been delayed to 2026 at the earliest, with NASA delaying Artemis II to 2025 at the earliest. The agency cited prioritizing crew safety for the delays.

If this third Starship test flight is able to lift off and then separate in orbit successfully, it will help bring some good news to the ongoing efforts by humanity to expand our exploration to the stars.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.