Today, it’s finally time for SpaceX to, for the first time, send its giant rocket, the SpaceX, into orbit around the Earth. The so-called launch window for the Starship opens during 7am local time, and SpaceX will broadcast the launch live.
The idea is that the Starship, with the help of the accompanying Super Heavy star rocket, will be launched from SpaceX’s facility in Boca Chica, in southern Texas. Elon Musk commented on the upcoming launch on Twitter:
I guess I’d like to just set expectations low. If we get far enough away from launch pad before something goes wrong, then I think I would consider that to be a success. Just don’t blow up the pad.”Elon Musk
There’s a good chance that it gets postponed since we’re going to be pretty careful about this launch.
The mission is expected to take approximately 90 minutes. If everything goes according to plan, the Starship spacecraft in the upper stage will separate from the Super Heavy booster a few minutes after liftoff. The booster will then return to Earth off the coast of Hawaii, while the Starship will attempt to reach orbit. If the flight is successful, the Starship will return to Earth in the Gulf of Mexico after completing its orbit.
The Starship, which stands at 395 feet (120 meters) tall, is a reusable transportation system that can transport both crew and cargo to Earth’s orbit. Once ready, it is expected to be used for missions to the moon, Mars, and beyond.
While Musk and his team hope for a perfect mission, they will not be too disappointed if it does not go as planned. Regardless of the outcome, the mission will provide engineers with valuable data that will help them refine the vehicle’s design and flight systems.