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SpaceX launch delay; Starship almost ready

January 13, 2023

By Chris Forrester

SpaceX has further delayed a planned launch of a batch of Starlink broadband satellites to January 14th. It is the third delay for the launch. But another important event is planned for SpaceX at its giant Starship base in South Texas.

This latest Starlink flight will take 51 satellites into orbit and take place from California’s Vandenberg Space Force Base. Timing is currently at 7.06pm (California time).

Following stage separation, Falcon 9’s first stage will return to Earth and land on the ‘Of Course I Still Love You’ floating barge stationed downrange in the Pacific Ocean.

Elon Musk has been Tweeting enthusiastically about recent ground-tests for SpaceX’s massive Starship under construction at the Boca Chica Starbase. Earlier this week SpaceX teased viewers with images of Starship 24 being carefully placed on top of the ‘Super Heavy Booster’ and taking the overall height of the pair to a massive 120 metres (390 ft).

Musk said that a March orbital test flight of the Starship is likely, tweeting: “We have a real shot at late February. March launch attempt appears highly likely.”

The plan for this test flight will see the rocket lift off and deliver its dummy cargo to a splash-down near Hawaii. The booster might attempt a re-landing at the launch pad, or splash down following launch into the Gulf of Mexico. This choice has yet to be confirmed.

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