SpaceX may conduct the first orbital test flight of the Starship within weeks. This is despite the lack of regulatory approvals needed for such a launch.
And theindicated Gwen Shotwell notes that entrepreneur Elon Musk’s company plans in July to launch the first orbital spaceflight from a Starship rocket.
“I hope we succeed, but we all know it’s difficult,” said Shotwell, speaking at the ISDC National Space Association’s International Virtual Space Development Conference.
Shotwell was aware of the challenges. But she says her company is on the cusp of that major journey. Or at least attempt the first orbital flight of this system in the very near term.
SpaceX has conducted several short test flights of spacecraft prototypes over the past year. But reaching orbit is the next step in missile testing.
Also Read: SpaceX Successfully Completes Mission 125
The private spaceflight company lost several Starship models before reaching Earth in May.
In May, the company revealed its plan for the trip, which will depart from the company’s facility in Texas and aim to reach the coast of Hawaii.
The spacecraft models are about 160 feet tall, or about the size of a 16-story building, and are constructed of stainless steel — the first version of the rocket that Musk revealed in 2019.
The Super Heavy booster, which makes up the lower half of the rocket, is about 230 feet high. The Starship and Super Heavy together are nearly 400 feet high when assembled for launch.
SpaceX aims to test Starship
The company is developing the Starship to launch goods and people on missions to the Moon and Mars.
Read also: Talking about Bitcoin brings together Musk and Dorsey
While SpaceX’s fleet of Falcon 9 rockets and Falcon Heavy boosters can be partially reused, Musk’s goal is to make the Starship fully reusable.
Musk envisions a missile akin to a commercial airliner with short lead times between flights where the only major cost is fuel.
Read also: The space war between Bezos and Musk is raging again
“I don’t think people understand what this system does,” Shotwell said. She emphasized that Musk felt a great urgency to develop the spacecraft and find a sustainable capacity to take people to the moon and Mars.
She added: This means that it is not one ship every two years. And we should be able to drive dozens of ships during the time frame when you can get people to Mars.