Permission granted: New Starship flight will take place on June 6

The US Federal Aviation Administration has granted SpaceX permission to launch a superheavy Starship rocket. Its new flight will take place on June 6.

Refueled Starship on the launch pad. Source: SpaceX

Starship is the largest launch vehicle in history. Its mass in the refueled state is about 5 thousand tons, its height is 121 meters. It consists of the Super Heavy booster (first stage) and the Starship spacecraft itself. Both components of the system are reusable and designed for a soft landing.

At the moment, Starship has three space flights on its account. The first took place in April 2023 and ended with a rocket explosion at an altitude of 30 km. During the second flight in November 2023, Starship reached the phase of stage separation. The Super Heavy booster collapsed shortly after separation from the spacecraft, and the Starship was undermined by an emergency flight termination system shortly before the engines were turned off due to a fire. During the third mission in March 2024, the prototype of the spacecraft successfully entered space and collapsed during atmospheric entry due to incorrect orientation.

The key task of the fourth flight is to successfully complete the atmospheric entry phase and test the thermal protection of Starship. The flight plan assumes that the ship will enter the atmosphere over the Indian Ocean, make a controlled descent, gradually lower its speed, after which it will carry out a soft landing with the help of engines. As for the Super Heavy booster, it will also try to land in the Gulf of Mexico.

Obtaining permission from the FAA removed the last restriction before the new flight. Starship and Super Heavy have already passed all the necessary pre-flight tests and are ready for the mission. At the moment, their flight is scheduled for June 6th. The 120-minute launch window will open at 7:00 a.m. CT.

Earlier, we talked about why Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa refused to fly on Starship.