SpaceX previously announced to launch Starship on Monday but said in a liver webcast that it has been postponed by a minimum of 48 hours.
Space Exploration Technologies Corporation or SpaceX has postponed the debut launch of its fully integrated Starship and Super Heavy rocket to April 20. The long-awaited uncrewed test flight was previously scheduled on April 17 from the Starbase facility at Boca Chica, Texas.
According to a Reuters report, citing an announcement on a live webcast by SpaceX, the Monday launch has been delayed due to a frozen valve in the lower-stage rocket booster. Due to this, the planned 90-minute test flight was delayed by a minimum of 48 hours.
“SpaceX is targeting as soon as Thursday, April 20 for the first flight test of a fully integrated Starship and Super Heavy rocket from Starbase in Texas. The 62 minute launch window opens at 8:28 a.m. CT and closes at 9:30 a.m. CT,” the American space company later wrote in a blog.
Worries over the delay in the launch of the first Starship orbital flight since May 2021 surfaced primarily due to a delay in SpaceX getting a launch license from the FAA. The first orbital flight of SpaceX Starship was previously reported for lift-off on April 10, with April 11 and April 12 as other backup dates. But it was shifted to the third week of April due to pending regulatory approval.
However, SpaceX’s Starship rocket received the long-awaited approval from the U.S. civil aviation regulator – Federal Aviation Administration – for the launch of its first test flight last week. The license by FAA is valid for five years.
Starship, which collectively refers to a SpaceX spacecraft and super heavy rocket, represents a fully reusable transportation system designed to carry crew and cargo to the Earth’s orbit, the Moon, and Mars. The American company has to date completed multiple sub-orbital flight tests of Starship’s upper stage from Starbase. In addition to this, the SpaceX team has conducted numerous tests of the Super Heavy rocket, including “the increasingly complex static fires that led to a full-duration 31 Raptor engine test – the largest number of simultaneous rocket engine ignitions in history.”
At 146 meters, or nearly 500 feet tall, the launch and catch tower that is claimed to be the world’s tallest is designed to support vehicle integration, launch, and catch of the Super Heavy rocket booster. The company said that its team will not attempt a vertical landing of Starship or a catch of the Super Heavy booster for its first flight test.
Meanwhile, some users took to Twitter to troll about the next expected launch date of Starship. April 20 or 4/20 is cannabis culture slang that people are associating Musk with due to his marijuana consumption during a live web show with Joe Rogan.