The second launch of Starship may take place this week

SpaceX has completed preparations for the second launch of the Starship super-heavy rocket. If authorized, it could take place as early as this week.

Starship accident

The first Starship orbital test took place on April 20. During the climb, a number of Raptor engines shut down at the Super Heavy booster. This was due to a fire in the engine compartment. In the end, the giant rocket managed to reach 39 km, after which it finally lost control and began to rotate chaotically. As a result, the Starship was destroyed.

Starship’s first test flight. Source: SpaceX

But the consequences of the launch were not limited to a large explosion. The launch pad suffered much more damage than expected. A huge crater formed in its concrete base.

In the following months, SpaceX engineers did a lot of work to eliminate the consequences of the accidents and prepare for the next launch. The launch pad was restored and received a water cooling system. Numerous changes were made to the Starship’s design. In addition, it received a new stage separation system.

Waiting for launch authorization

By September, SpaceX specialists had assembled a new copy of the Starship and conducted a series of tests, announcing that it was ready to launch a new flight soon. However, the company needs to obtain permission from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Since then, the organization has published a report on the causes of the Starship accident and acknowledged that SpaceX has met all safety requirements.

Космический корабль Starship на ускорителе Super Heavy
Starship spacecraft on the Super Heavy accelerator. Photo: SpaceX

However, the FAA has not yet issued a license for a new Starship flight. Regulators explain that they also need a conclusion from the US Fish and Wildlife Service that the launch will not harm wildlife.

It is not yet known when the conclusion will be issued. At the same time, the fully assembled Starship has already been installed at the SpaceX launch pad at its base in Boca Chica. According to company representatives, if the permit is received this week, the launch of the super-heavy rocket could take place as early as November 17.

The new Starship flight will follow the schedule of the first test. If all goes well, after separation, the Super Heavy booster will perform a partial reentry maneuver and will be driven to the Gulf of Mexico. As for the Starship itself, it will develop sufficient speed to enter low Earth orbit and make an incomplete revolution around the Earth. Near the Hawaiian Islands, the ship will activate its engines and enter the atmosphere, after which it will be brought into the ocean about 100 km off the northwestern coast of the island of Kauai.

Based on materials from