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SpaceX could launch Starship again as early as May

Published Mar 20th, 2024 5:19PM EDT
starship launch test
Image: SpaceX

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SpaceX is reportedly eyeing a quick turnaround for its fourth Starship launch. Following a very successful third launch earlier this month, SpaceX seems keen on a May launch date for Starship’s fourth iteration, according to some reports.

The news first broke during the Satellite 2024 conference on March 19, when Gynne Shotwell, the president and chief operating officer at Space, said that the company was still reviewing the data gathered from Starship’s third launch but that it would be ready to launch another mission very soon (via SpaceNews).

While there was a lot of data to mull off from the third Starship launch, the fourth Starship launch doesn’t have nearly the goals to meet that the third did. The first and second Starship launches both ended explosively, and although the third iteration did burn up on re-entry, the Super Heavy booster and Starship’s upper stage performed as expected throughout its ascent.

spacex starship inaugural launch reveal
SpaceX Starship reveal. Image source: Miguel Roberts/The Brownsville Herald via AP

Now, all SpaceX needs to do to continue moving Starship forward is ensure it can re-enter Earth’s atmosphere without burning up in the process. Shotwell said that they are hoping to get back to flight in around six weeks, which would put the next Starship ship at some time in early May, assuming there aren’t any scheduling or weather issues.

Of course, SpaceX will need to sort out the issues found during Starship’s third launch. But, if the company can outline those issues and come up with workable solutions, it will be ready for Starship’s fourth launch in a matter of months. That’s really exciting, as Starship has big shoes to fill based on SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s statements that he wants future Starship rockets to carry humans to other planets, most likely starting with Mars.

Starship will also play an integral part in NASA’s Artemis missions, the third of which is expected to put humans back on the Moon for the first time since the Apollo missions in the 1960s and 1970s.

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.