Musk’s SpaceX targets Thursday for next attempt to launch Starship
SpaceX is now targeting Thursday for its next attempt to launch the most powerful rocket ever built.
Starship’s first test flight was postponed on Monday morning with just minutes left in the countdown because of a technical issue – possibly concerning a pressurant valve, as tweeted by CEO Elon Musk.
The company will have a Thursday launch window which opens at 8:28 am CT and closes at 9:30 am CT. It is expected to livestream the launch attempt on its official website, starting roughly 45 minutes before the historic liftoff.
On Monday, scores of people were expecting the enormous Super Heavy rocket booster, which houses 33 engines, to vault the Starship spacecraft off its ground pad in Boca Chica, Texas. But even after the unmanned mission was called off, the team continued executing launch operations and kept the countdown clock going in a practice run called a “wet dress rehearsal”.
The clock was ultimately paused with 40 seconds left. If SpaceX were to move ahead with the test launch, mission controllers would give the rocket a final “go” at T-30 seconds.
Nevertheless, it’s not uncommon for first-time launches to experience delays as engineers try to address every issue that may not have surfaced in the earlier testing. In the lead-up to Monday’s launch, Musk had asked everyone to temper their expectations.
“We’re going to be very careful,” the entrepreneur had told a Twitter Spaces event, adding “If we see anything that gives us concern, we will postpone the launch.”
He is hoping to entirely transform the rocket business and usher in an era of interplanetary travel for humans with Starship, designed to be fully reusable. It is also critical to NASA’s ambition to return astronauts to the moon.
A couple of years back, the company won a roughly $3 billion contract from the agency to use Starship as a crewed lunar lander. While SpaceX had hoped to conduct the first Starship orbital launch as early as 2021, FAA approval and delays in development pushed further the dates.