Elon Musk’s ambitions to eventually settle on Mars appear ready for takeoff with the second Starship launch test receiving the green light from Federal authorities. After a fiery crash that took place when the first Starship launch was initiated by SpaceX in April. Despite the failure of the earlier mission, the launch was a monumental step for the company, however, it did result in a line of investigations before another launch could be attempted.
Elon Musk is now targeting the upcoming Friday, 17 November, for the next Starship launch, now that all field tests and federal approvals are complete. The Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FAA and USFWS) had been looking into the ground damage and environmental impact of the launch on the biodiversity around Starbase, but have signed off on the Starship launch following their assessments. In addition, there are also reports of a SpaceX IPO for its Starlink satellite segment in 2024, but there is no confirmed news of it just yet.
Second Starship Launch: Here’s What We Know
“You want to wake up in the morning and think the future is going to be great – and that’s what being a spacefaring civilization is all about. It’s about believing in the future and thinking that the future will be better than the past. And I can’t think of anything more exciting than going out there and being among the stars.”
—Elon Musk, SpaceX
Elon Musk has been very open with his plans for SpaceX and their constant work on getting mankind more comfortably settled in space. According to the website, the second flight test from a fully integrated Starship launch has been scheduled for 17 November, with a two-hour launch window that will begin at 7 am CT from their launchpad in South Texas. The second Starship launch will be live-streamed on the SpaceX page on Twitter/X.
The first Starship launch failure had led to considerable property damage to the SpaceX launchpad and the surrounding area. The Starship had taken off successfully but failed to separate following multiple engine failures. SpaceX had to take a tough call and allow the spacecraft to self-destruct. That is when the FAA stepped in and recommended 63 corrective measures to prevent future failings, according to Bloomberg.
What to Look Forward to With the Starship Launch
The water deluge system set to make a formal appearance with the second Starship launch is one of the major upgrades SpaceX has added to its orbital launch mount systems, to protect against the heat generated by the Starship launch and protect the base.
“The second flight test will debut a hot-stage separation system and a new electronic Thrust Vector Control (TVC) system for Super Heavy Raptor engines, in addition to reinforcements to the pad foundation and a water-cooled steel flame deflector, among many other enhancements.”
To be clear, the Starship launch test is not a Moon/Mars mission just yet but is the next stage in Elon Musk’s plan to make space travel more accessible and also get the Starlink satellites out to space more easily. The second Starship launch test holds a similar aim to its predecessor—for the Super Heavy, the first-stage booster, to test takeoff and then land in the Gulf of Mexico, while the upper-stage Starship will attempt to complete its coast phase and reach orbital velocity before making a water landing in the Pacific Ocean.
While ambitious, SpaceX has been making great strides with its missions. The organization proudly holds up its 282 total launches, 245 landings, and 217 reflights as evidence of its achievements so far, and these are admittedly monumental feats. Bloomberg received word from undisclosed sources of a possible SpaceX IPO, or a Starlink IPO to be more precise, but Musk stated that the news was “False.” The thriving company doesn’t appear to have a significant need to turn public just yet, so for now, our eyes remain on the upcoming Starship launch and how the craft performs this time.