Elon Musk's SpaceX Sets Date For Next Starship Launch, Awaits Regulatory Nod: Here's What It Mainly Wants To Achieve

Zinger Key Points
  • For the upcoming flight, SpaceX is focused on demonstrating its ability to reuse Starship.
  • Regulatory approval for upcoming flight depends on FAA determining that public safety was not impacted during last flight.

Elon Musk‘s rocket manufacturing company, SpaceX, is preparing to launch its Starship again, possibly as soon as June 5.

What Happened: SpaceX has yet to receive regulatory approval for Starship’s fourth flight test. However, if approved, the Starship could launch on June 5, with the launch window opening as early as 7 a.m. CT, the company announced on Friday.

Starship is touted as the world's most powerful launch vehicle, standing 121 meters tall and weighing approximately 5,000 tonnes. It consists of two stages: the Starship spacecraft and the Super Heavy rocket.

For the upcoming test, the company aims to achieve a soft splashdown of the Super Heavy booster in the Gulf of Mexico and a controlled re-entry and splashdown of the Starship in the Indian Ocean. SpaceX has implemented both software and hardware upgrades to Starship since its last flight test to meet these objectives.

“The fourth flight test turns our focus from achieving orbit to demonstrating the ability to return and reuse Starship and Super Heavy,” the company stated.

The Federal Aviation Administration must determine there was no impact on public safety during the last flight test before issuing a license modification for the next flight, according to SpaceX.

Musk on Rocket Reusability: Addressing the difficulty of achieving reusability in space travel, Musk said on Saturday, “There is a reason it hasn't been solved, despite countries/companies pouring about a trillion dollars cumulatively into rocket development over 80 years.”

However, SpaceX considers reusable rockets essential to its mission, seeing them as crucial for reducing the cost of space access. A rapidly reusable space launch vehicle can lower the cost of traveling to space by a hundredfold, as a significant portion of launch costs is the expense of building the rocket, the company explains.

Why It Matters: During Starship’s previous flight test on March 14, the spacecraft lost contact and broke apart while re-entering the atmosphere instead of splashing down in the Indian Ocean as planned. The booster also lost contact before achieving a soft splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico. The entire flight lasted about an hour.

SpaceX launched the Starship twice last year — first in April and then in November.

NASA is currently relying on the success of Starship to land humans back on the moon as part of its Artemis program. The last crewed lunar mission occurred in 1972 with Apollo 17. Since then, no crew has traveled beyond low-Earth orbit.

Check out more of Benzinga’s Future Of Mobility coverage by following this link.

Read More: Departing Tesla VP Can’t Get Himself To Buy Rival EVs Because They Don’t Have FSD: ‘It’s A Deal Breaker’

Photo via Shutterstock

Market News and Data brought to you by Benzinga APIs
Posted In: GovernmentNewsRegulationsSPACETop StoriesTechElon MuskmobilitySpaceXStarshipStories That Matter
Benzinga simplifies the market for smarter investing

Trade confidently with insights and alerts from analyst ratings, free reports and breaking news that affects the stocks you care about.

Join Now: Free!