CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Even though SpaceX’s massive Starship and its Super Heavy Booster are being built in Texas, it could make its launch debut from Kennedy Space Center first, according to SpaceX’s Elon Musk on Thursday.
What You Need To Know
- The launch of SpaceX’s massive Starship and its Heavy Booster is scheduled for the coming months, as soon as March
- Location of the launch could be moved from Texas to the Kennedy Space Center
- A change in venue would also push back blast-off by more than half a year
Musk gave an update at SpaceX’s Texas spaceport Thursday where he remarked, “this is some really wild stuff here!”
“In fact, hard to believe it’s real,” the SpaceX founder and CEO told a crowd.
A Space Coast launch would be huge for Florida, but it will depend on the FAA.
SpaceX is awaiting approval from the Federal Aviation Administration before proceeding with Starship’s next phase: going into orbit. Musk said he expects the go-ahead in March and that the rocket should be ready to fly by then as well. That would put the launch in the next couple of months, he added.
If the FAA demands more information about potential environmental impacts — or if lawsuits emerge, — Musk said Starship launches could move to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. But that would delay the first orbital launch by more than half a year, he noted.
SpaceX’s Super Heavy first-stage booster has yet to blast off. But the futuristic, bullet-shaped, steel Starship — perched on top and serving as the upper stage — successfully launched and landed on its own last May, following a series of spectacular explosions. The rocket ship soared more than 6 miles (10 kilometers).
The eventual goal is to use the Starship and its Super Heavy Booster to establish a city on Mars, transporting people and equipment there.
“So, for those who really care about not just the humans but all the life on Earth, it is very important, essential, that over the long term we become a multi-planet species … ultimately even go beyond the solar system,” Musk pumped-up the crowd Thursday.
NASA, meanwhile, plans to use the rocket to land astronauts on the moon as early as 2025.
The most immediate purpose, however, will be for SpaceX’s Starlink internet satellites to go into orbit.
Besides Florida’s Cape Canaveral and the southern tip of Texas near Boca Chica, Starships could ultimately launch from floating ocean platforms anywhere in the world, Musk said. He envisions Starships launching three times a day — “rapid reusability” — with refilling stations in space for the longer destinations like Mars. The first refilling test could happen by the end of next year, he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.