SpaceX has made two launch attempts to safely launch the Starship and landed it back without an exploration. Although, the two-launch attempt lifted off successfully, they both failed to land at the designated landing site. A month after the second launch attempt, SpaceX is preparing to fly its massive Starship rocket again. The first ever launch attempt was conducted on April 20th, while the second Starship flight test took place on Nov. 18.
Even though they both ended in explosions, the aerospace company has remained optimistic about its forthcoming launch attempt.
“Flight 3 vehicles on the pad at Starbase for testing ahead of Starship’s next launch,” SpaceX wrote in a post on X (formerly known as Twitter) that shared three photos of the spacecraft involved. Keep in mind that Starbase is SpaceX’s South Texas site, specifically built for Starship manufacturing, testing and launch.
Unlike any rocket ever built, SpaceX Starship remains the most massive and sophisticated spaceship to fly. It consists of two reusable stages. The first stage is the booster known as Super Heavy, while the upper stage is a 165-foot-tall (50 meters) spacecraft called Starship. SpaceX is developing this powerful spaceship with the primary goal of taking humans to the moon and Mars. It will also aid in executing other spaceflight goals for the agency and others.
What SpaceX hope to achieve from its Starship flight test
SpaceX has a lot of goals to accomplish using its Spaceship, including landing humans on the moon during Artemis 3 and Artemis 4, carrying Japanese Billionaire and eight others around the moon on dearMoon mission and others. Hence, the company is putting in the extra effort to ensure that it succeed with its forthcoming test.
Both first and second test flight missions lifted off from Starbase. SpaceX planned to send the upper-stage Starship around Earth and land it on a Pacific Ocean splashdown region near Hawaii. However, the first test flight ended in disaster after four minutes into the launch.
SpaceX revealed that the Starship encountered numerous problems such as early block-out of some of the booster’s Raptor engines and the failure to separate the two stages. Hence, SpaceX team destroyed the spaceship with a controlled detonation high in the sky above Texas.
During its second test flight on Nov. 18, SpaceX recorded greater success. First, the Super Heavy’s 33 Raptor engines ignited their initial burn. Then, the booster separated successfully from the Starship upper stage via a process known as hot staging.
But moments after the separation, Super Heavy ended in explosion while attempting to return to the Gulf of Mexico. On the other hand, Starship flew for eight minutes into the launch before exploding.
When Will SpaceX Launch Its 3rd Starship?
SpaceX is a company that believe so much in accomplishing massive projects within the shortest time frame. Current test reveals how prepared SpaceX is for the next launch attempt. So when the 3rd launch flight be taking place? Moments after the Nov. 18 launch attempt, Elon Musk, the CEO and founder of SpaceX announced that the third Starship vehicle will be ready to fly toward the end of the year.
However, technical readiness is not the only factor to consider here. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has to offer SpaceX the license to fly the massive starship. FAA officials are currently investigating what led to the explosion of the second test flight on Nov. 18.
SpaceX will not get another launch license until FAA completes their investigation and the agency has implemented the corrective actions (if there is any) as requested by the FAA officials. For the main time, we should remain hopeful about seeing SpaceX make another launch attempt anytime soon.