Anticipation was sky-high Monday for the first orbital launch attempt of Starship.
Unfortunately, the launch was scrubbed only eight minutes before liftoff due to a frozen valve on the Super Heavy first-stage booster.
Now, SpaceX has a new launch window, and it opens on Thursday, April 20. A 62-minute launch window will open on that day at 9:28 am EDT (1328 GMT), SpaceX wrote in its updated mission description.
Memes have, unsurprisingly, come rolling in, as the date — 4/20 — is significant to marijuana enthusiasts and to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, who made an extremely expensive joke referring to the date back in 2018.
New date for SpaceX’s historic Starship launch
Starship was designed to be fully reusable so as to dramatically reduce the cost of successive launches. For Thursday’s Orbital Flight Test (OFT), however, SpaceX will attempt to launch the massive rocket to orbit for the first time.
If it does reach orbit, the Super Heavy first stage, powered by 33 Raptor engines, will make a hard splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico roughly eight minutes after launch. Starship’s upper stage, meanwhile, will make almost an entire lap of Earth in orbit before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii roughly 90 minutes after liftoff.
Starship isn’t guaranteed to reach orbit on its first attempt, though. Last month, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk stated that the company’s next-generation rocket had a roughly 50 percent chance of reaching orbit on its first try. “I’m not saying it will get to orbit but I am guaranteeing excitement,” Musk wrote on Twitter.
In its mission description, SpaceX wrote “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 the development of Starship.”
Starship to become the world’s most powerful rocket
Last week, SpaceX shared an impressive animated video that showcases its ambitious plans for the Starship program. The video shows Starship flying to Mars. Once it arrives, it reaches a Mars base, and numerous other Starship spacecraft are shown to be approaching the Red Planet.
In a bid to make this sci-fi scenario possible, SpaceX designed Starship to be fully reusable, and also to be the world’s most powerful rocket. If all goes to plan, Starship will become the most powerful operational launch system, stripping NASA’s non-reusable Space Launch System (SLS) of the title.