a senior NASA Official suggested it SpaceX He wants one of his spacecraft models to fly into space for the first time in December, According to Reuters (Opens in a new tab).
The Agency has an interest in the advancement of the Starship; NASA has selected the giant rocket as the first manned lunar lander for the Artemis lunar exploration program. If all goes according to current plan, the spacecraft will place the boots near the south pole of the moon in 2025 or 2026, on the Artemis 3 mission.
“We’re tracking four major flights aboard the spacecraft. The first one will start here in December, and it’s part of early December,” Mark Kerasich, deputy associate director for Artemis campaign development, said during a NASA advisory board meeting on Monday (October 31). .
Related: This black and white photo of SpaceX’s Starship looks like a famous building shot in New York City
No Starship prototype has been launched since May 2021, and so far all of its flights have reached a maximum altitude of just 6 miles (10 kilometers) or so. SpaceX’s desire to do an orbital mission with the Starship prompted a lengthy environmental review by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and there are still many things to finish, Reuters reports.
An FAA review, called a Programmatic Environmental Assessment, examined Starship’s activities at Starbase, a SpaceX facility near Brownsville, in southern Texas. The FAA concluded the assessment in June, after several delays from late 2021 due to the need to consult with other agencies and deal with public comment. The Federal Aviation Administration said this summer that SpaceX needs to take 75 actions to reduce its environmental impact on the region.
Although SpaceX founder Elon Musk has said several times that the Starship will be ready to enter orbit soon — Musk recently said the goal was November — it appears SpaceX hasn’t quite finished with these FAA work items.
An FAA spokesperson told Reuters on Monday that the agency will grant the orbital launch license “only after SpaceX has made all outstanding information available and the agency can fully analyze it.” The FAA did not provide more information in the report about the suspended items, and SpaceX did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.
Pictures: SpaceX assembles Starship and Super Heavy on launch pad ahead of orbital test flight
The next mission is to move a 165-foot (50 m) prototype of the Starship into orbit atop a 230-foot (70 m) Super Heavy booster. The stacked devices are the longest-running missile system ever. (The spacecraft consists of a superheavy spacecraft and the upper stage of the spacecraft, both designed to be reusable.)
SpaceX has already done Number of fixed fire tests in 2022 to prepare the Starship for the roughly 90-minute mission that, if successful, would see the spacecraft land off the coast of Hawaii. However, it’s unclear how much preparatory work remains before SpaceX is ready to launch the mission.
SpaceX’s human landing system contract with NASA requires several successful spaceflight tests before the Starship is allowed to put astronauts on the moon. NASA is also looking for a second vendor for manned Artemis landing missions, but More options will not be ready Until Artemis 5 at the earliest, which puts SpaceX in line for landing Artemis 3 and Artemis 4 around 2025 and 2027, depending on how the previous missions went. The program’s first mission, the unmanned Artemis 1, is scheduled to launch on November 14.
Elizabeth Hoyle is co-author of the book “Why am I taller (Opens in a new tab)? (ECW Press, 2022; with Canadian astronaut Dave Williams), book on space medicine. Follow her on Twitter Tweet embed (Opens in a new tab). Follow us on Twitter Tweet embed (Opens in a new tab) or Facebook (Opens in a new tab).