Space company, SpaceX owned by billionaire, Elon Musk is closing in on a major milestone in its Starship rocket development. The billionaire CEO announced today that the company will have a Starship prototype rocket “ready to fly” by July, with his space venture aiming to reach orbit with the vehicle for the first time.
The company is currently working to complete its environmental impact requirements as outlined this week by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The company had previously hoped to conduct the Starship orbital flight test as early as last summer, but delays in development progress and regulatory approval steadily pushed back that timeline.
The FAA made a crucial environmental decision Monday that concluded a long-awaited assessment of the program. SpaceX is expected to fulfill more than 75 of the agency’s actions before applying for the launch license required for the flight test.
Musk said in a series of tweets that he spent time at the SpaceX facility in Boca Chica, Texas, on Monday evening “reviewing progress” on the rocket. He added that the company “will have a second Starship stack ready to fly in August” and aims to conduct flights “monthly thereafter.”
The company is developing its nearly 400-foot-tall, reusable Starship rocket with the goal of carrying cargo and people beyond Earth. The rocket and its Super Heavy booster are powered by SpaceX’s Raptor series of engines. SpaceX has completed multiple high-altitude flight tests with Starship prototypes, but it has yet to reach space.
What you should know about SpaceX
- Elon Musk founded SpaceX in 2002 with the goal of lowering space transportation costs and revolutionizing the aerospace industry.
- Musk first funded SpaceX with his own money, but after gaining enough experience, he was able to secure millions of dollars from NASA to build his rockets and spacecraft, as well as to deliver cargo to the International Space Station.
- The Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch vehicles, as well as multiple rocket engines, the Dragon cargo, and crew spacecraft, and the Starlink communications satellites, are all manufactured by SpaceX.
- Space X was the first private company to launch and return a spacecraft from Earth orbit, as well as the first to launch and dock a crewed spacecraft with the International Space Station (ISS).
- In the commercial rocket business, the company competes with former Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos’ space enterprise Blue Origin and billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic.
- Civilians have been successfully launched into space by all three rocket companies. Morgan Stanley estimates that the space economy will be worth $1 trillion by 2040.