After the second test flight of the Starship spacecraft on November 18, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced that the most powerful rocket in the world would be ready for a new launch by the end of 2023.
“Starship Flight 3 hardware should be ready to fly in 3 to 4 weeks. There are three ships in final production in the high bay,” Musk said.
Starship Flight 3 hardware should be ready to fly in 3 to 4 weeks. There are three ships in final production in the high bay (as can be seen from the highway).
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 20, 2023
Although SpaceX may indeed be ready to launch the Super Heavy launch vehicle with the Starship spacecraft as early as December, this does not mean that it will actually take off before the end of 2023. Without permission from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), this will not be possible. Now the state body is investigating the crash during the second launch. After its completion, the FAA will be able to consider issuing a permit for a third flight. But, as you know, due to bureaucratic procedures, the issuance of a permit may be delayed.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 18, 2023
Like the first test flight without a crew in April, the second launch also ended with an epic explosion. SpaceX engineers consider it a success, since it was possible to achieve separation of stages and fly longer than planned in the spring. However, the first stage of Super Heavy exploded at an altitude of 90 km, and then the same fate befell Starship.
The private space company was also proud that its newly designed Starbase launch pad withstood the colossal 7 million kg Super Heavy thrust — almost twice as much as the new NASA Space Launch System rocket. During the April launch, the site was partially destroyed by the enormous force of the shock wave from the firing of 33 Raptor engines, scattering debris over a large area.
Just inspected the Starship launch pad and it is in great condition!
No refurbishment needed to the water-cooled steel plate for next launch.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 19, 2023
SpaceX hopes to one day use Starship for manned flights to the Moon, Mars and beyond, but it is obvious that many more tests need to be carried out for this. Musk and his team are going to increase the frequency of test launches to move faster towards their ambitious goal.
Earlier we talked in detail about Starship.
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