SpaceX could attempt Starship orbital flight in January 2022

This is one of the major milestones in the development of Starship: orbital flight. This would occur as early as January 2022, according to Elon Musk.

Orbital testing of the starship could come very soon. Taking advantage of a period during a meeting of the National Academies in the United States, Elon Musk suggested that this shooting could take place already in the first months of next year, perhaps in January or February 2022. And why not before, for example to from December 2021, or even in November? Because there is a time conflict.

As TechCrunch points out, the US civil aviation leadership explained that the review of the test that SpaceX plans to do will be completed on December 31. On a strictly administrative level, this year there is no credible position. In addition, significant work is still being done to refit the launch pad and the launcher support mast.

SpaceX Accelerates Testing to Prepare for Starship Orbital Flight

While waiting for the end of the project in Texas, filming is to begin from Boca Chica, where SpaceX has established its base that serves as a test bed and rocket manufacturing area, the tests are linked across the Atlantic. In recent weeks, the ignition of a new type of engine in the Starship upper stage has been tested, but also the activation of the six rocket engines in that stage.

The Starship had undergone an intense flight test phase earlier this year, with four shots being fired between February and May. No further flights were carried out after the test with the SN15 prototype, which managed to take off, maneuver in the sky and land safely. For SpaceX, it was a sign that it was time to take the next step and try to deliver on its ambitious schedule.

A test flight with the Starship SN10. // Source: SpaceX

Normally, the first orbital flight should stage the entire Starship rocket, that is, the upper stage associated with the main stage. The set, once everything is assembled, is immense, with a peak that culminates at 120 meters. The prototype will mobilize a few dozen rocket engines: those responsible for propelling the upper stage, but also those dedicated to the main stage.

On paper, SpaceX is planning an orbital flight from its Texas test center with a northwestern arrival of Kauai, one of the islands of the Hawaiian archipelago. The aircraft would then fly over a large segment of Earth. In principle, the first stage of the rocket will return to base, while the upper stage would land in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, hoping to land on a converted barge.

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