SpaceX: the first orbital flight of the mega-rocket Starship scheduled for early 2022

Elon Musk said Wednesday that the mega-rocket Starship, developed by his company SpaceX and notably selected by NASA for the return of Americans to the Moon, would attempt its first orbital flight in early 2022. “We hope to do it in January, A, he stated during an intervention in front of scientists at the National Academy of Sciences, before later adding that the test could also be done “maybe in February.”

“There are many risks associated with this first launch, so I would not say that it is likely to be successful, but I think we will make a lot of progress,” he added.

An ultra-powerful first stage

Starship has already made several suborbital flights: after several tests that ended in impressive explosions, SpaceX had finally managed to land the spacecraft, designed to be reusable.

For this orbital test, this time it will be decked out with an ultra-powerful first stage called the Super Heavy. Clearance from the US Federal Civil Aviation Regulator (FAA) is expected “towards the end of the year,” Elon Musk said. “We will have completed the launch pad and launch tower this month, and then we will do a series of verifications in December,” he detailed. We hope to test a dozen launches next year, ”the SpaceX chief also said. ” Maybe more. “

NASA has chosen to bet on Starship to become the lander used as part of its Artemis program back to the moon. The spacecraft will have to orbit the moon upstream, and astronauts who arrive aboard its capsule will embark there to carry them to and from the lunar surface, at the earliest in 2025.

But the head of SpaceX looks even further for this “largest rocket ever designed”: “what we seek to develop with Starship, is a widespread means of transport for large numbers of masses or people. […] anywhere in the solar system ”.

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