It’s been a long time coming, but the first orbital test of SpaceX’s mighty Super Heavy rocket and Starship spacecraft looks to be just weeks away.
Following SpaceX’s recent sharing of a video showing the Starship being stacked atop the company’s next-generation rocket, and comments by SpaceX chief Elon Musk that said the test flight could take place as soon as next month, Musk has said again that the mission is expected to take place “soon.”
Additionally, in a tweet on Thursday, SpaceX said it’s about to conduct a series of all-important “wet dress rehearsals” that will put the rocket through all of the pre-flight procedures short of actually launching it.
“Team are stepping into a series of tests prior to Starship’s first flight test in the weeks ahead, including full stack wet dress rehearsals and hold down firing of Booster 7’s 33 Raptor engines,” SpaceX said in the tweet (below).
The company also released images of the 394-foot-tall (120 m) rocket at its Starbase facility in Boca Chica Texas.
Team are stepping into a series of tests prior to Starship's first flight test in the weeks ahead, including full stack wet dress rehearsals and hold down firing of Booster 7's 33 Raptor engines
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) January 12, 2023
The Super Heavy rocket, which packs an incredible 17 million pounds thrust at launch will become the strongest rocket ever to fly once it reaches the sky. For comparison, NASA’s new Space Launch System (SLS) rocket that sent the Orion spacecraft toward the moon in November generates 8.8 million pounds of thrust, while SpaceX’s trusty Falcon 9 rocket generates a mere 1.7 million pounds.
With this in mind the launch will be spectacular and draw huge crowds to witness the mission begin in person.
SpaceX and NASA can advance plans for the use of the vehicle for crewed missions on the moon and Mars if the Super Heavy/Starship orbital test flight proves successful. A modified Starship spacecraft will be used to land the first woman and the first person of color on the moon’s surface in the Artemis III mission. This could happen as soon as 2025. SpaceX plans to use it for the all-civilian dearMoon mission, which will send nine people to the moon.
But there’s still plenty of work to be done before then, with all eyes now on the highly anticipated test flight. When the details for that mission become available, we’ll be sure to share them on Digital Trends.
Today’s tech news, condensed and curated for your inbox
Check your inbox!
To continue, please provide a valid email address.
This email address is currently in our file. If you don’t receive newsletters, please go to your spam folder.
An error occurred during subscription Please try again later.