ELON Musk is adamant his mega-rocket Starship will be put to the test in a matter of weeks, and he’s promised an exciting show.
The 33-engine, nearly 400-feet tall, rocket is the eccentric billionaire’s biggest feat yet.
First, US regulatory approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) must be secured before any launch attempt is made.
“SpaceX will be ready to launch Starship in a few weeks, then launch timing depends on FAA license approval,” Musk announced on Twitter on Thursday.
“Assuming that takes a few weeks, first launch attempt will be near end of third week of April, aka…”
Musk’s comment hints at the launch day being prepared for April 20, known to some as 4/20.
Many believe that this is an homage to his use of cannabis, which he infamously revealed on Joe Rogan’s podcast back in 2018.
The debut orbital launch of the next-generation spacecraft is set to take place at the company’s Starbase facility in Texas.
Starship is the $3billion rocket that is intended to get boots on the Moon sometime around 2025, and eventually ferry humans to Mars in the 2030s.
But Musk isn’t even sure if it’ll reach Earth’s orbit in its first trial run.
Speaking at the Morgan Stanley 2023 Technology, Media and Telecommunications conference last week, Musk said: “I am not saying it will get to orbit but I am guaranteeing excitement… It won’t be boring.”
The concerns surrounding the project are to be expected, since it involves trying to get the tallest rocket ever built into space.
“This is a very difficult programme,” said Musk, adding that “the rocket is roughly two-and-a-half times the thrust of the Saturn V, so if or when it reaches orbit it’ll be by far the largest rocket to reach orbit.
“The key to expanding life beyond Earth is a fully and rapidly reusable orbital rocket.
“This is a very hard problem given the constraints… Earth has a thick atmosphere and strong gravity, it is only barely possible to do this, that is why it has not been done before.”
Musk said there was “hopefully above a 50 per cent chance” of reaching orbit, acknowledging there was a significant chance the test launch will end in a fiery explosion.
The Starship is designed to transport up to 100 people from Earth to the Moon and Mars.
The trip to Mars is about seven months long, meaning there will be onboard living spaces for crew members.
However, until Starship has proved it can at least reach orbit, there’s not yet any telling as to what this will look like.
The rocket was also designed from the onset to be able to carry more than 100 tons of cargo to Mars and the Moon.
This is so it can store everything needed to build off-planet base camps.
Not only is it the tallest rocket to ever be flown, the first stage of Starship, known as the Super Heavy booster, is the most powerful rocket ever built and can produce up to 7.6million kilograms of thrust.
That is nearly double the current record held by Nasa’s Space Launch System (SLS).
Starship is being developed to fulfil a $1.15billion contract with Nasa to deliver astronauts to the Moon as part of the Artemis program.
Though it is also a critical tool in helping Musk fulfil his dreams of getting humans to Mars, which is why he created SpaceX in the first place.