UPDATE: The launch test was switched to the so-called “wet dress rehearsal” (WDR) sequence which is meant to assess the system’s state and whether it is safe to be launched. The launch was cancelled 10 seconds before the planned launch due to pressurization concerns. SpaceX will reattempt the launch no sooner than after 48 hours. This time is needed to recycle the fuel in the rocket’s tanks.
The new SpaceX Starship flight test is being targeted for today, April 17 at 8:00 a.m. CT. This will be the first orbital flight test using a fully integrated Starship and Super Heavy rocket, which is set to be launched from Starbase in Texas.
The Starship rocket encompasses a complete reusable transportation system that is designed to offer the capabilities of a human crew transportation to Earth orbit.
The rocket will also be able to deliver cargo to space and is also expected to become one of the vessels capable of reaching the Moon, Mars, and even traveling beyond these distant locations of the Solar System.
This new flight test will be used to collect important data about the technical performance of the Starship rocket itself, as well as all associated ground-based flight support systems. The ultimate aim is to improve the probability of successful orbital flights in the future.
Until now, SpaceX has already completed several sub-orbital flight tests using the upper stage of Starship. The company has proven that the vehicle can perform a precisely controlled flight, including re-orienting itself and re-lighting its engines to position itself in a vertical position for landing on the ground.
The rocket is measured 119 meters (390 ft) tall. Its launch and catch tower is the tallest in the world, reaching the height of 146 meters (500 ft).
During the upcoming test, SpaceX will not attempt a vertical landing of Starship, and it also will not attempt to catch the Super Heavy booster using the launch and catch tower.
A live webcast of the flight test will begin ~45 minutes before liftoff. The company notes that this schedule is dynamic and can be changed at any moment.