Earlier this week, SpaceX was forced to cancel the inaugural launch of Starship, its next-generation rocket, due to a frozen valve. Now, Elon Musk and SpaceX are once again gunning for a launch of the Starship rocket, and it’s set to happen early Thursday morning.
The do-over of Starship’s inaugural launch attempt will kick off at around 9:28 a.m. ET on Thursday, April 20. SpaceX will cover the entire launch on its YouTube via a live feed, which you’ll also find embedded in this article. The live feed is expected to begin 45 minutes before the launch window opens, at 8:45 a.m. ET.
The launch window for this newest attempt at Starship’s inaugural launch will only be 62 minutes in total. If SpaceX is unable to get Starship in the air before 10:30 a.m. ET, it will be forced to scrap the launch and try again a few days later.
As I noted above, the original launch attempt earlier this week was called off due to a frozen valve when there were just nine minutes left on the countdown clock. Unfortunately, these kinds of issues are possible, especially when you’re dealing with an untested rocket like Starship.
Even if SpaceX managed to complete the inaugural launch of the Starship rocket successfully, it’s likely that it will not reach all of its mission goals. Musk says that he expects there to be a 50/50 chance that the 394-foot-tall (120-meter) mega-rocket doesn’t reach its planned partial orbit of Earth.
The Super Heavy booster will fall into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico just eight minutes after it launches. The Starship upper stage will continue on its course, attempt to reach an orbital altitude, and then travel as far as Hawaii before crashing into the Pacific Ocean.
Starship is currently slated to replace NASA’s Space Launch System on the Artemis 3 and Artemis 4 missions, which are scheduled for later this decade. The success of this inaugural Starship launch will set the stage for the next generation of SpaceX’s bid in space exploration.