Elon Musk Hopes SpaceX Will Launch First Starship Orbital Flight in May

by Taylor Cunningham
(Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Things are speeding along for Elon Musk and his SpaceX engineers, and if all goes as planned, the Starship rocket will make its first trip into orbit in May.

At a Glance

  • On Monday, Elon Musk gave an update on the SpaceX Starship and said that the rocket could make its first orbital launch as early as May.
  • The flight engines will be completed by April. And after that, the team will only need another month to “integrate.”
  • Before the rocket makes its launch, the FAA will also need to inspect and license the craft.
  • Once approved, Starship will shuttle cargo and people to space and back.
  • NASA will also use the rocket to get astronauts to the moon.
  • In the future, Elon Musk hopes that Starship will take humans to Mars.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX Starship Almost Ready to Launch

Today, Elon Musk gave an update on the multi-million dollar project via Twitter saying “We’ll have 39 flightworthy engines built by next month, then another month to integrate, so hopefully May for orbital flight test.”

Starship prototypes have already aced several high-altitude flights tests. And it’s next goal is to reach orbit. Originally, Elon Musk thought the craft would meet that milestone last year. But there were some delays in development, and SpaceX is still waiting for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to grant approval.

The administration should finish a key environmental assessment by March 28th, which will be the last step in the licensing process.

Once Starship gets through the final rounds of testing, the 400-foot-tall, 165-ton reusable craft will help carry people and cargo to and from space.

Last October, NASA also awarded SpaceX with a $2.9 billion dollar contract so it can use Starship to take astronauts in orbit to the surface of the moon through the Artemis lunar program. And after that, Elon Musk has even bigger plans for the rocket.

One day in the near future, the Tesla founder hopes to establish a human colony on Mars. And to do that, he needs Starship. To successfully build the colony, Musk thinks he’ll need over one million tons of supplies. And the reason the rocket is so large is that Musk had already envisioned using the craft to get people to the red planet.