On Thursday evening, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is providing us with an update regarding the next-generation rocket Starship, which has shifted from the drawing board into a sequence of towering prototypes at the company’s facility in Texas.
Starship is the huge, next-generation rocket SpaceX is in the making to introduce cargo and people on missions to the moon and Mars. The rocket is made to launch on a Super Heavy booster, with both powered by the new class of Raptor engines that SpaceX is making.
SpaceX started developing Starship in vital over two years ago, when the company started to build prototypes both in Cape Canaveral, Florida, and Boca Chica, Texas. Then, the company turned its attention to work at the Boca Chica site, which is given a nickname called “Starbase,” and has since carried out Starship manufacturing, tests, and flights from the Texas region.
Company Working in Next Important Move in Development
After the successful launch and landing of Starship SN15 at a high-altitude flight test back in May, the company has been putting efforts toward its next significant move in development: Landing space.
SpaceX earlier wished to launch the first Starship orbital flight test in summer last year, but that schedule has been postponed. According to the SpaceX CEO, the company has had to remarkably set up the Texas facility’s infrastructure, and a “crisis” in Raptor engine development in late 2021 caused the departure of important SpaceX executives as a result of “severe” issues.
The orbital flight test is also awaiting regulatory approval, as SpaceX requires a launch license from the Federal Aviation Administration for the launch.
The FAA is supposed to finish a chief environmental assessment by February 28, with the outcome either passing SpaceX to launch Starship to orbit or postponing for a more in-depth examination, which could then additionally delay launches from Boca Chica by months or it may take even years as well.
Musk has said earlier that he is not certain Starship will successfully be able to reach orbit on the first attempt but is “confident” that the rocket will make it to space in 2022.
In December 2021, Musk also announced that the company recommenced building a Starship launchpad in Florida, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, saying that another option for the rocket’s future.
SpaceX Raised Billion in Funding
SpaceX has managed to raise billions in funding around the last several years, both for Starship and its satellite internet project Starlink, with the company’s valuation recently reaching $100 billion.
The company also won a $2.9 billion contract from NASA to make use of Starship to send astronauts to the moon by 2025 under the agency’s Artemis program.
SpaceX knocked out teams headed by Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Leidos subsidiary Dynetics for the contract and, following a long halt because of protests from the other competitors and a legal suit from Blue Origin, NASA has started paying it out, with $398 million given to SpaceX till date.