UPDATE: SpaceX scrubbed the launch, citing a frozen pressurization valve. The company said it will wait at least 48 hours before making another launch attempt.

The wait is over! SpaceX's colossal Starship and Super Heavy booster are set to launch today at 9 a.m. EDT from Starbase in Texas, marking a groundbreaking moment in space exploration.

  • The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) just granted SpaceX a Starship launch license, valid for five years, clearing the company to attempt the rocket's first orbital launch.
  • NASA has selected Starship as the moon lander for the Artemis 3 mission in 2025, marking the first crewed landing on the moon since 1972. However, perfecting the design is crucial for mission success, and today's test flight will be instrumental in achieving this goal.

Starship 101: Starship is the largest rocket ever built and has the potential to carry humans to the moon and even further. Methane, cheaper to produce and handle than hydrogen, serves as Starship's fuel and is found in trace amounts in Mars' atmosphere. This test flight is extremely risky due to Starship's unique size, methane fuel, and numerous engines that must fire in perfect synchrony.

Zoom Out: The success of Starship could enable SpaceX to become a multi-planetary company, potentially transporting the first people to Mars and rapidly expanding its Starlink satellite internet network.

In History: The Soviet Union attempted a similar approach in the 1960s with a massive rocket using 30 engines, the complexity of the task led to failure.

Share this post