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Musk readying Starship launch

August 17, 2021

By Chris Forrester

SpaceX founder Elon Musk, speaking on August 15th, said that its massive Starship rocket should be ready for flight within the next few weeks.

The major challenge, despite the obvious technical and engineering work in hand, comes from the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) and gaining its permission to actually launch the rocket. The complete Starship rocket, SpaceX’s next-generation launch vehicle, stands 120 metres (394 ft) tall when coupled with its super-large first-stage booster.

However, the FAA problems are significant and currently the FAA has not approved even the construction of the rocket’s assembly tower at Boca Chica in Texas let alone the actual launch.

Musk said: “First orbital stack of Starship should be ready for flight in a few weeks, pending only regulatory approval.”

There are a host of questions, not least what will SpaceX put at the top of the rocket to provide a payload for the flight.

Musk also Tweeted that he fully expected a Starship to launch humans to the Moon in 2024, and “probably sooner”. He explained in a statement to Fox Business how the Starship project would get to Earth orbit, saying: “Starship payload to orbit is ~150 tons, so max of 8 to fill 1200 ton tanks of lunar Starship,”

Musk added. “Without flaps & heat shield, Starship is much lighter. Lunar landing legs don’t add much (1/6 gravity). May only need [half] full, ie 4 tanker flights.”

Time will tell. But first the FAA has to grant permission.

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