Starship ready for orbital test flight: announcement by Elon Musk

The CEO of Space X let it be known that he could perform the first test "in a few weeks" and everything is ready to fly the largest rocket ever built before. Although there is still to wait for the evaluation of the Federal Aviation Administration

Everything would be ready for the first orbital test launch of Space X's Starship spacecraft. To announce it was the same CEO of the company Elon Musk who, on August 14, spoke of "a few weeks". The goal, however, seems a little too close. Space X still has to finish the preflight tests of the largest rocket ever built so far, about 120 meters high. Another major logistical problem comes from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, which is conducting an environmental assessment of the orbital launch site where Starship is expected to take off.

Delays for Starship launch

The FAA's draft review has not yet been released and the agency will accept comments for 30 days after its release. Thus, Space X's spacecraft orbital journey seems really difficult to achieve within a few weeks. Musk seems aware of the problem and concluded the announcement with "pending regulatory approval." Probably talking about a few weeks the CEO tried to put some pressure on the Federal Aviation Administration to speed up the process. Musk has also in the past expressed frustration with the lengthy process of regulations, believing that the rules should be simplified.

With Starship, the entrepreneur is aiming precisely to revolutionize the system. At the end of July, the launch pad was built, renamed by Elon Musk as Mechazilla, then the huge first-stage booster called Super Heavy,  equipped with 29 Raptor engines, was positioned in record time, and shortly thereafter also the six-engine prototype known as Starship SN20, designed with the goal of bringing goods and people to the Moon, Mars and other possible space destinations. SpaceX has already conducted test flights with prototype spacecraft, but in the case of Starship, it will be the first time a Super Heavy topped by a spacecraft will take off to reach orbit. If all goes according to plan, three minutes after launch, the Super Heavy booster will return off the Gulf of Mexico, while the Starship will continue its orbital journey until its return to Earth an hour and a half later in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii.

While the Space X project continues at great speed, Elon Musk took advantage of a few days off to visit Florence. And there are rumors of possible contacts between the CEO and the Leonardo Group of Campi di Bisenzio, a company that produces technologies for the most important space programs.

Stefania Bernardini