Elon Musk reveals plan for next Starship mission

Elon Musk reveals plan for next Starship mission

Starship

Elon Musk has revealed the goals for the next Starship mission following another successful test of the world’s biggest rocket.

The SpaceX boss said the next Starship launch, which is expected to take place in early May, will focus on bringing the craft back to Earth safely from orbit for the first time.

On Wednesday, SpaceX completed a second static fire test of its latest Starship rocket at its Starbase facility in Boca Chica, Texas.



“Getting ready for Flight 4 of Starship,” Mr Musk posted on X, formerly Twitter, on Wednesday.

“Goal of this mission is for Starship to get through max reentry heating with all systems functioning.”

The static fire test comes less than two weeks after the last Starship mission, which saw the rocket reach orbital velocity for the first time before breaking up upon reentry to Earth’s atmosphere.

Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s chief operating officer, said last week that the next launch attempt could take place in the “beginning part of May”, though no payload will be onboard.



The fourth major flight test of the fully stacked Starship rocket system will instead aim to resolve the issues that arose during the last mission.

Measuring 120 metres tall, and capable of producing 7.5 million kilograms of thrust, Starship is the biggest and most powerful rocket system ever built.

The first commercial missions of SpaceX’s next-generation rocket will likely see it deliver Starlink satellites into orbit, with Ms Shotwell saying this should happen before then end of the year.

SpaceX also has a multi-billion dollar contract with Nasa to provide Starship rockets for the US space agency’s Artemis program, which aims to return people to the Moon within the next few years.

Beyond that, Mr Musk hopes to use a fleet of Starships to ferry crew and cargo across the Solar System to set up a permanent human colony on Mars.

Building a rocket that is both reliable and reusable will be critical to achieving these goals.

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