Will SpaceX’s Starship Finally Not Explode Next Week?

Will SpaceX’s Starship Finally Not Explode Next Week?

SpaceX teased a tentative date for the third launch of its Starship rocket. The company posted a link on X for viewing Starship’s third flight test next week after having completed a wet dress rehearsal for its massive rocket on Sunday night.

The live feed for Starship’s test flight is currently scheduled for March 14 at 7:30 a.m. ET. Earlier this week, SpaceX carried out a fueling test for its Starship rocket at the company’s Starbase in Boca Chica, Texas.

During the launch rehearsal, SpaceX loaded Starship with over 10 million pounds of methane and liquid oxygen propellant and counted down to T-10 seconds before halting the mock launch. The rocket’s hardware seemed to have fared well during the rehearsal, looking like an orbital Batmobile while perched on its launchpad.

The Starship rocket during its wet dress rehearsal on Sunday night.

Things are looking good for Starship’s upcoming test flight. In late February, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that it closed its investigation into Starship’s second test flight, which took place on November 18, 2023.

Starship’s second test flight resulted in the in-flight destruction of both the Super Heavy booster and upper stage, but it was still a major improvement from the first time the rocket lifted off on April 20, 2023.

As part of the FAA investigation, SpaceX identified the root causes of the failed test and came up with 17 corrective actions. Seven of those corrective actions had to do with the Super Heavy booster, including redesigns of vehicle hardware and improvements in control system modeling, with the remaining ten corrective actions related to the upper stage.

Before it can launch Starship for the third time, SpaceX still needs a license modification from the FAA “that addresses all safety, environmental and other applicable regulatory requirements,” the federal agency wrote in an emailed statement in February. We’re not sure when or if the FAA plans to issue its license, but SpaceX seems pretty confident that it’ll be granted before the scheduled launch next week.

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