Most Powerful Rocket Ever Cleared for Launch

Uncrewed Starship is scheduled for Monday morning liftoff
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 15, 2023 2:35 PM CDT
SpaceX Schedules Launch of Most Powerful Rocket Yet
This undated photo provided by SpaceX shows the company's Starship rocket at the launch site in Boca Chica, Texas.   (SpaceX via AP)

After receiving the all-clear from the Federal Aviation Administration, SpaceX plans its first test flight of the most powerful rocket ever built. The launch of the crewless Starship is scheduled for 7am Monday from the company's base east of Brownsville, Texas, reports. The Starship spacecraft consists of a reusable capsule designed to ferry cargo and crew members; it sits on top of the first-stage, 230-foot Super Heavy booster rocket. The plan is for Starship to, at some point, take astronauts to the moon, at least. "Success maybe, excitement guaranteed!" SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted late Friday.

Musk has for years promoted Starship as the centerpiece of SpaceX's vision of sending humans to Mars, per CNN. The craft is scheduled to make nearly a complete orbit of Earth before splashing down near Hawaii after hitting orbital speeds and rising to about 150 miles above the planet—territory considered outer space. The rocket booster will be dropped into the ocean soon after liftoff, though in flights after this, SpaceX intends to recover it after it makes an upright landing back at the base. That would keep the cost down; Musk has said each flight eventually could run less than $10 million. Starship generates 17 million pounds of thrust, more than twice what the Saturn V rockets that took Apollo astronauts to the moon produced. (More SpaceX stories.)

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