SpaceX is getting ready to launch its Starship rocket for the first time from its Starbase launch facility in Texas. After a cancelled launch attempt on 17 April, Elon Musk’s space flight firm is gearing up for another try on 20 April. If successful, this will make Starship the biggest and most powerful rocket ever to take to the skies.
What time is the launch?
SpaceX is set to send its Starship rocket into near orbit for the first time between 1428 and 1530 UK time. That’s between 0828 and 0930 local time in Boca Chica, Texas.
The launch time is “dynamic and likely to change.”
How can I watch?
A livestream of the test flight will begin 45 minutes before lift-off, with its countdown starting around two hours before.
You can watch the livestream right here on this page as soon as it is launched.
Why was the previous launch cancelled?
The first launch attempt was cancelled just a few minutes before liftoff when a valve on one of the rocket’s tanks froze, preventing it from pressurising properly. The delay has an added bonus of placing the new launch attempt on a date that SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has made the punchline of many jokes due to its association with cannabis.
The spacecraft has two components: the Super Heavy booster, which contains the 33 engines that blast the rocket off the ground, and Starship, the smaller crew capsule that sits atop the booster. A few minutes after the launch, Super Heavy is designed to detach and fall back down into the Gulf of Mexico, while Starship will continue for a 90-minute jaunt into space and back.
This first flight is not intended to send Starship all the way into orbit, but an orbital flight and at least one crewed flight are planned for later in the year. Eventually, Starship is intended to ferry astronauts to the moon and perhaps someday Mars.