Elon Musk, the chief of SpaceX, published a series of tweets dedicated to the preparation of the first orbital test flight of the reusable Starship spacecraft. There he announced an important technical change in the project.
Elon Musk announced his intention to use the new Raptor 2 engines for the flight. According to the billionaire, they are much more powerful and reliable than the first version of the Raptor and provide 230 tons of thrust at sea level. According to Musk, SpaceX will have 39 engines ready for flight by next month. Approximately another month will be required to install engines on Starship and the Super Heavy stage. As a result, Musk expressed hope to conduct the first orbital test of the system in May.
At the same time, do not forget that the deadlines given by Musk are often too optimistic (as the billionaire himself admits). Another reason that can affect the flight date is the environmental assessment of the SpaceX Starbase in Boca Chica. It is a key element necessary to obtain permission for the first orbital flight of the Starship and the Super Heavy stage. Now, the completion of the assessment is planned on March 28. However, according to unofficial data, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) intends to postpone the decision again.
In such a way, SpaceX has developed a backup plan that provides the move of the test to the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The company’s specialists are already engaged in the conversion of the complex for the needs of Starship. It is expected that the complex will be ready to first launch in the autumn of 2022.
According to https://www.cnbc.com