From rhetoric, to the acid test. SpaceX faces its particular “D-Day”, the inaugural launch of Starship. After years of preparations that have served to raise expectations, Elon Musk’s company is counting down the hours to attempt the first test of its Super Heavy propellant with the upper stage. Its goal is to take advantage of the 150-minute launch window that will open tomorrow afternoon in Spain now that it finally has the go-ahead from the Federal Aviation Administration, the FAA, for its acronym in English.
What we know so far about the planning of the test flight. And what should you take into account if you want to follow the operation live tomorrow.
“OK” of the regulators. On Friday SpaceX finally managed to clear the last hurdle — at the regulatory level, of course — for the launch of the first full flight test of its combined Starship and Super Heavy spacecraft. The FAA gave it its “OK” considering that it meets “all safety, environmental, policy, payload, airspace integration, and financial responsibility requirements.” The license from the US regulator is valid for a period of five years.
And when will the release be? SpaceX has not been slow to materialize its plans. His goal is to take advantage of the 150-minute window that will open tomorrow, April 17, at 7:00 am CT, 2:00 pm in mainland Spain. The operation will be carried out from SpaceX’s Starbase facilities in Boca Chica, Texas.
A few hours ago, the company explained on Twitter that its teams are completing the “final checks” before attempting the flight test in a few hours. “The weather looks pretty good for tomorrow morning, but we are watching for wind shear,” detail.
holding my breath. The company has already drawn up a meticulous schedule for both the countdown and the 90-minute flight test itself. To attempt the launch from Starbase, you have a window of 150, a narrow margin that will require you to be aware of several factors —Space.com details—, such as the preparation of the Starship and Super Heavy, the weather conditions and the launch environment. at sea is clear.
If the company finally chooses not to attempt the launch tomorrow, it can do so later, even during the same week. Officials in the Texas county where Starbase is located have already posted notices suggesting that SpaceX may have reserved the 18th or 19th for further attempts. Depending on the technical problem, if any, the delay could be longer.
Can it be followed online? Yes. SpaceX will offer the possibility of following the launch on YouTube. The broadcast will start around 45 minutes before takeoff, although the company already warns from the start: “As with all development tests, this schedule is dynamic and is likely to change, so be sure to keep an eye on our social media to get updates”. On his Twitter account The information is already updated.
And what will we see? The first flight test of the integrated Starship and Super Heavy rocket—together they are 400 feet tall—from Starbase in Texas. So far SpaceX has carried out suborbital flight tests with the upper stage of Starship and tests with the Super Heavy rocket, equipped with 33 engines. The team has also manufactured what stands out as the “highest launch and capture tower in the world” for rockets, at 164 meters, although during this first test the vertical landing of the Starship or the capture of the Super Heavy will not be attempted.
Cover image: SpaceX
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