According to Elon Musk, SpaceX might try to complete Starship’s long-awaited orbital test flight as early as next month. In response to a query from one of his Twitter followers on Saturday, Musk said that the private space company plans to begin in March. “If the remaining testing go well, we will try to launch the Starship next month,” he added.
If remaining tests go well, we will attempt a Starship launch next month
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 4, 2023
While the date of Starship’s orbital test flight has been a changing goal for most of the last year and a half, there is reason to think the rocket will ultimately launch next month. Starship successfully completed its first-ever stacked fuelling test in January. During the “wet dress rehearsal,” SpaceX loaded more than 10 million pounds of liquid oxygen and methane fuel into both stages of the spaceship. Critically, the business went through some of the countdown processes that would be required on launch day.
The most important test SpaceX still has to perform is a static firing of all 33 Raptor engines on the Super Heavy stage. To date, the business has never started more than 14 engines at the same time. This must alter if SpaceX wants to get approval from the Federal Aviation Administration for an orbital test flight. As of the end of January, there were indications that SpaceX was planning to conduct the static test fire as soon as the first week of February. That did not occur. However, Musk’s remark suggests that SpaceX would perform the test sooner rather than later.