SpaceX has announced a tentative launch date for its first Starship orbital flight, though it may end up delayed if things don’t go according to plan. Back in May, SpaceX detailed the plans for the first Starship orbital flight, marking a new milestone on the journey to make the massive rocket available for regular space missions.
SpaceX has conducted several high-altitude flights involving its huge Starship prototypes. The most recent launch took place at the company’s Starbase in Texas on May 5. The test was a success, with Starship SN15 managing to land itself on its landing pad — another achievement in the company’s effort to develop reusable space transport systems.
According to CNBC, SpaceX hopes to conduct its first Starship orbital flight next month, though that depends on whether everything goes as planned. SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell gave some details about the plan during the International Space Development Conference, noting that the flight will happen “in the very near term.”
The flight, whenever it happens, will take place from SpaceX’s Texas facility, with the launch involving the Super Heavy booster and the Starship spacecraft. Assuming the company reaches its goal, the Starship vessel will be entirely reusable, offering benefits that include the ability to rapidly conduct launches.
The orbital flight will be uncrewed, but the goal is to eventually use Starship to carry astronauts and cargo on missions to the Moon and, one day, to the Red Planet. Starship will join SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy, underscoring the company’s growing prowess in the private space industry.