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SpaceX: Starship #4 will launch in 6 weeks

March 21, 2024

SpaceX‘s president and COO Gwynne Shotwell was the star speaker at the Washington Satellite 2024 event. She touched on many key elements.

She told delegates to the Satellite 2024 event in Washington that Starship Flight #3 was “incredibly successful” and that #4 would take place in “about 6 weeks”. But the flight would not carry Starlink satellites just yet. SpaceX needed to focus on getting Starship’s re-entry rights, and for the booster and Starship to successfully land.

Shotwell added that the goal for Starship this year is to reach orbit, deploy satellites and recover both stages. And of course, to launch the core Falcon 9 rocket 148 times.

She told delegates that mounting an IPO for SpaceX was not the focus at this time.

SpaceX was planning around seven Starship launches this year, although some sceptics later suggested that this would be a tough challenge.

One additional industry benefit announced by Shotwell was that SpaceX has started selling satellite lasers, already in use on its own Starlink satellites, to other operators. She said that SpaceX was rolling out the technology. “We generally don’t sell components, so this is a little bit of a new thing for us,” Shotwell said after the panel discussion. She said SpaceX was already in talks with potential customers.

Nevertheless, there is also an underlying goal for SpaceX which is to increase Starlink subscribers and get Starlink satellites on board Starship for a more economical delivery of satellites.

Meanwhile, the EU is reported to have confirmed that SpaceX will launch its satellites. The agreement is needed because of lengthy delays to the next generation of Europe’s own Ariane rocket system. The European Commission has reportedly agreed a €180 million deal with SpaceX to launch four of its Galileo SatNav satellites because of delays to the Ariane 6 rocket being built by ArianeGroup on behalf of the ESA.

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