SpaceX can launch the Starship test flight as soon as next week should it receive regulatory approval, according to a fresh social media post from the company. Starship, the world's largest rocket, is currently being developed in Boca Chica, Texas, and just like its first test flight attempt in April, SpaceX is ready to launch pending regulatory approval. According to the company's post on the social media platform X (formerly Twitter), it can launch Starship as soon as on November 17th. SpaceX's latest estimate for Starship follows an uptick in development activities in Texas that have seen it test the full rocket its pad and install the flight termination system.
SpaceX Reveals Potential Starship Launch Date As Safety Concerns At Boca Chica Come To Light
Activity surrounding the Starship rocket picked up late last month when SpaceX surprisingly conducted a test that can only be described as a wet dress rehearsal. This test saw the company load the rocket with thousands of gallons of fuel and oxidizer to create launch like conditions. SpaceX also tested the water deluge system at the launch pad, all the while working with the Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS) to certify pad the fire and noise suppression system.
Now, in a post made just moments back, SpaceX is promising that Starship is ready to launch as soon as November 17th should it receive regulatory approval. This tentative date for the second Staship orbital test flight is the first time that SpaceX has circled a date on the calendar, and it comes roughly a day after it shared that regulatory approval was 'around the corner.'
SpaceX's manufacturing manager, Jessie Anderson, made the remarks at the firm's 29th cargo launch for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), which also saw it launch the most Dragon flights in a calendar year.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 11, 2023
The tentative Starship launch date follows a bombshell Reuters report that blew the lid on high injury rates at SpaceX's facilities in Texas. The report, which uses data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to reveal hundreds of injuries and a death at the Texas site. The publication shared that industry rates are significantly higher at SpaceX than at other aerospace companies, with some of these involving amputated fingers, a lost eye and one worker having spent years in a coma.
As it waits for the FWS and FAA's clearance for the second Starship flight, SpaceX is already looking ahead. Its filings with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) show that if Starship's regulatory and test progress proceeds optimally, then SpaceX might even conduct the third Starship orbital test flight in December.
Flying the world's largest rocket to orbit is crucial for SpaceX, especially since talk in the press once again starts to discuss a potential public offering of its shares. SpaceX's chief and founder Elon Musk has shied away from a public listing due to the volatile nature of the stock market and the risky nature of running a rocket company. However, with Starlink starting to generate more revenue than expenses, pressure on Musk has once again started building.