SpaceX moves Starship’s second flight test to Saturday

FAA approved Starship’s license for launch Wednesday

Starship (SpaceX)

ORLANDO, Fla. – SpaceX is moving the second test flight of a fully-integrated Starship spacecraft to Saturday morning while crews replace a part.

The Federal Aviation Administration said Wednesday that SpaceX had met all safety, environmental, policy and financial responsibility requirements.

The test launch was set for 8 a.m. EST on Friday from SpaceX’s facility in Boca Chica, Texas. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said the launch will now move to Saturday at 8 a.m. EST, while crews replace a grid fin actuator.

Starship is a fully reusable super heavy rocket that, should it be successful, would become integral in NASA’s mission to create a sustained presence on the moon and perhaps one day on Mars.

The nearly 400-foot spacecraft and rocket made its first launch attempt from SpaceX’s launch facility in Texas back in April. The rocket started tumbling and then exploded four minutes after launch.

The Federal Aviation Administration said SpaceX had to take more than 60 corrective actions with the rocket before the next launch attempt. SpaceX said those actions have been completed, and the FAA says there are no significant environmental changes.

SpaceX said the next test will debut some new systems, including a hot-stage separation system for the super heavy Raptor engines. There will also be a water-cooled flame deflector to help mitigate the impact of the 16 million pounds of thrust Starship’s 33 engines generate.

If the launch is successful, the super heavy booster is expected to land in the Gulf of Mexico, while Starship itself will land in the Pacific Ocean north of Hawaii.

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Christie joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021.