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IPFS News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

SpaceX Starship's next launch 'probably 3 to 5 weeks' away, Elon Musk says

• https://www.space.com, By Mike Wall

We're likely still a month or so away from the next launch of SpaceX's Starship megarocket.

That was the timeline Elon Musk offered in a post on X over the weekend, saying Starship's next test flight is "probably 3 to 5 weeks" away. "Objective is for the ship to get past max heating, or at least further than last time," the billionaire entrepreneur added. 

The 400-foot-tall (122 meters) Starship is the biggest and most powerful rocket ever built. It consists of two elements, both of which are designed to be fully and rapidly reusable: a huge first-stage booster called Super Heavy and a 165-foot-tall (50 m) upper stage known as Starship, or simply "Ship."

A fully stacked Starship has flown three times to date, on each occasion from SpaceX's Starbase site in South Texas — in April 2023, November 2023 and March 14 of this year. The giant vehicle has performed better with each successive flight.

During the debut liftoff, for example, Starship's two stages failed to separate as planned, and SpaceX detonated the tumbling vehicle just four minutes after liftoff. Flight 2 achieved stage separation, but both Super Heavy and Ship broke apart early, ending the mission after eight minutes.

On Flight 3, Super Heavy successfully steered its way into position for a planned Gulf of Mexico splashdown but broke apart about 1,650 feet (500 m) above the waves. Ship reached orbital velocity and flew for nearly 50 minutes, though it ultimately succumbed to the violent forces of frictional heating when reentering Earth's atmosphere.


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