SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas — SpaceX is targeting Thursday (April 20) for the second attempt to launch its giant Starship vehicle to space.
The flight will be the first ever for a fully stacked Starship, the giant vehicle that SpaceX is developing to take people and cargo to the moon, Mars and beyond. The launch will occur from Starbase, SpaceX’s facility here in South Texas.
SpaceX tried to launch the mission today (April 17) but scrubbed the try just under nine minutes before the planned liftoff due to an issue with the pressurization system on Starship’s first stage, a huge booster called Super Heavy.
The plan for the coming flight calls for Super Heavy to make a hard splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico about eight minutes after liftoff. Starship’s upper-stage spacecraft, meanwhile, will make a partial lap around Earth, coming down in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii around 90 minutes after launch.
SpaceX isn’t necessarily expecting all of that to happen, however. This will be the debut spaceflight of a powerful and complex vehicle, so it wouldn’t be surprising if something went wrong.
“With a test such as this, success is measured by how much we can learn, which will inform and improve the probability of success in the future as SpaceX rapidly advances development of Starship,” SpaceX wrote in the mission description.
Mike Wall is the author of “Out There (opens in new tab)” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or Facebook (opens in new tab).