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Musk’s Starship launch draws near

April 5, 2023

Elon Musk’s giant Starship combination of rocket plus Super Heavy booster looks likely to be launched in the next few days. The importance for the satellite community is its potential capacity to launch far more Starlink satellites simultaneously – or larger/heavier commercial and NASA satellites – into orbit with a single launch.

There are other ambitions which include rocket journeys to the Moon and Mars, and perhaps even as a ‘fast track’ of taking passengers from one side of the planet to the other in minutes, not hours. But first, the million-dollar beast has to launch…

Musk said in mid-March to expect a launch during perhaps the third week of April, but signs are that it could happen sooner. SpaceX placed what it calls ‘Ship 24’ out to the launch pad on April 3rd and conducted tests. Moreover, a Notice to Airmen has been issued with prohibitions in place from April 6th to 12th.

The rumour-mill talks about April 10th at around 08.10-12.45 local times, with back-up plans for the following day.. But it is not yet clear whether the Federal Aviation Commission has issued SpaceX with its formal permission to launch.

Musk has admitted that the prospects for success of this debut flight are about 50/50. Either way, it should be a fun launch to view.

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