SpaceX boss Elon Musk is about to offer an update on the company’s progress with its next-generation Starship rocket.
And if the last such event is anything to go by, it should be quite a spectacle.
Responding to a question from one of his 72 million Twitter followers about the date of the next Starship presentation, Musk revealed it will take place on the evening of Thursday, February 10.
Thursday next week at 8pm Texas time
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 3, 2022
SpaceX’s next-generation flight system comprises the Super Heavy first stage and the Starship upper stage, collectively known as Starship. In development for years, Starship is being lined up for crewed moon missions, with Mars trips also a distinct possibility.
But while the upper stage has already been tested in a number of high-altitude flights, the Super Heavy — described as the most powerful launch vehicle ever built — has yet to fly. At present, the Super Heavy and Starship spacecraft are expected to launch together in the next few months in what will be the first orbital test flight of the entire vehicle.
SpaceX had been hoping to perform the test flight before now, but the Federal Aviation Administration is still working to complete an environmental review that should clear the way for the launch at SpaceX’s Boca Chica facility in Texas.
Musk: ‘The holy grail of rocketry’
Musk wrote in another tweet on Thursday that Starship “aspires to be the first fully reusable orbital launch vehicle, the holy grail of rocketry. This is the critical breakthrough needed to make life multiplanetary.”
Reusing the entire vehicle means landing not only the first stage as it currently does with its successful though less powerful Falcon 9 rocket, but also the Starship spacecraft, which SpaceX wants to be able to set down on other planets, as well as back on Earth, a feat it’s managed to achieve once so far in a high-altitude test flight last year.
Musk last held a similar Starship event two years ago, with a prototype of the spacecraft providing a dramatic backdrop for his presentation.
The SpaceX boss said at the time, “This is going to sound totally nuts, but I think we want to try to reach orbit in six months.” That never happened, but the idea of Super Heavy and Starship reaching orbit this year is definitely realistic. Hopefully, Musk now has some concrete plans for the Starship project that he can share at the presentation.
How to watch
SpaceX’s Starship update will take place at the company’s Boca Chica facility in Texas, with Musk kicking off the presentation at 9 p.m. ET (6 p.m. PT) on Thursday, February 10.
You can watch the event via the embedded video player at the top of this page or by heading to SpaceX’s YouTube channel.
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