The highly anticipated inaugural launch of SpaceX’s Starship rocket could be much closer than previously expected. We’ve known that Elon Musk’s space-based company hoped to launch Starship in the third week of April. However, new reports indicate it could happen as early as next week.
There is considerable excitement for space fans and NASA alike, as the U.S. space agency hopes to use Starship’s rocket for the lunar lander planned for future Artemis missions.
Musk recently advised that he hoped SpaceX would see an inaugural Starship launch as soon as the third week of April. However, new reports of SpaceX moving Starship to its launch pad, as well as reports that navigational warnings for April 6 to April 12 could indicate an earlier launch date.
In fact, it currently looks like Musk’s SpaceX could be trying for an April 10 date for the inaugural launch of the Starship rocket. Musk says he doesn’t expect the first launch to complete its journey around the Earth, citing a 50 percent chance it succeeds.
However, SpaceX has other Starship prototypes in the works that it will continue to test throughout the year, and Musk says there is an 80 percent chance that it can achieve orbit before the end of 2023. With the Artemis II mission set for 2024, a successful launch this year would mean a lot to seal Starship’s involvement in future Artemis setups.
Unfortunately, SpaceX is still waiting for a license to launch from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, so it’s unclear if that will arrive in time for such an early launch. Even if Starship’s inaugural launch doesn’t happen next week, it won’t be long before we can watch SpaceX’s latest rocket run through its first attempt at getting into orbit.
Considering the success of the Falcon-9 booster, it won’t be surprising if Starship exceeds expectations on its first attempt. All we can do for now is wait and see where things end up.