SpaceX is not giving up: the first orbital flight of the Starship rocket will take place this year

SpaceX, Elon Musk’s company dedicated to space exploration, intends to launch the first flight into orbit of its giant rocket, Starship, again this year. But some green lights still need to be given.

Why is this important?

The first flight into orbit has been planned for a long time, but has been repeatedly postponed. This is an important step for the company, which, hand in hand with NASA, must bring astronauts to the moon in 2025.

In the news : At the beginning of December, SpaceX should launch the first flight into orbit of Starship, its giant rocket. This is announced by a NASA official, the supervisor of the Artemis program, Mark Kirasich, quoted by Reuters.

  • “We are tracking four major Starship flights. The first will take place in December, at the beginning of the month,” he announced.
  • This would be the first test of the entire rocket, i.e. the “Super Heavy” craft measuring 70 meters, and the Starship spacecraft measuring 50 meters.
  • Previously, SpaceX had only tested smaller prototypes, which had reached an altitude of 10 kilometers, the altitude at which airliners fly.
  • But : Still missing green lights. The FAA, the American aviation authority, has yet to give its authorization. Other tests on the ground could also push back the date, according to Reuters.

The context : From report to report.

  • The launch of this rocket has been postponed many times. In February, Musk announced that it would be in 2022. And now that the end of the year is approaching, the company remains confident and seems to want to stay on this course.
  • The rocket had a problem with the engines, called Raptors. Production did not follow quickly enough (at the end of 2021) and the famous first flight had to be postponed.
  • Then, an environmental permit was long overdue. SpaceX’s base in Texas sits right next to a nature preserve, and studying the impact took time. The FAA gave the green light in June.

In the future : Satellites for Starlink and missions to the Moon.

  • These rockets are necessary to deploy the new generation satellites that Starlink, a company belonging to SpaceX, which offers an internet connection from space, wants to use.
  • Starship is also the rocket that must accompany Man on his return to the Moon in 2025, as part of the Artemis mission. In 2021, SpaceX and NASA had reached a three billion dollar agreement. Delays in the test flights of the famous rocket can also have repercussions on this mission. But the first flight of the mission, uninhabited, is for the moment still grounded, after the first failed launch attempts.
  • In the longer term, Musk wants the rocket to be able to get humans to Mars.

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