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Elon Musk’s SpaceX expects first Starship launch to orbit this year -NASA

SpaceX is targeting early December to launch its giant Starship rocket system into orbit for the first time, a pivotal demonstration flight as it aims to
fly NASA astronauts to the moon in the next few years, a U.S. official said on Monday.

November 1, 2022
By Joey Roulette
1 November 2022

By Joey Roulette

WASHINGTON, Oct 31 (Reuters) – SpaceX is targeting early
December to launch its giant Starship rocket system into orbit
for the first time, a pivotal demonstration flight as it aims to
fly NASA astronauts to the moon in the next few years, a U.S.
official said on Monday.

Billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX has sought for years to send
its towering next-generation rocket system into orbit from the
company’s private launch facilities in Texas, where it has only
launched prototypes of Starship’s upper half some 6 miles (10
km) high to demonstrate landing attempts.

The December mission will test the entire system for the
first time, involving the company’s 230-foot (70-meter) Super
Heavy booster to lift the 160-foot (50-meter) Starship
spacecraft into orbit.

“We track four major Starship flights. The first one here is
coming up in December, part of early December,” Mark Kirasich, a
senior NASA official overseeing development of the agency’s
Artemis moon program, said during a live-streamed NASA Advisory
Council meeting.

Further ground tests with the rocket and regulatory reviews
could delay the debut orbital mission beyond December. The U.S.
Federal Aviation Administration, which oversees commercial
launch site safety, has not yet granted a license for the
mission to SpaceX, part of Musk’s growing universe of companies
that also includes Tesla and Twitter.

The FAA and SpaceX did not immediately return requests for
comment.

Starship is poised to be SpaceX’s flagship rocket system
once fully developed, succeeding the company’s fleet of reusable
Falcon 9 rockets as a more powerful and fully reusable ride to
space for large batches of commercial satellites, space tourists
and professional astronauts.

NASA in 2021 picked SpaceX’s Starship to land humans on the
moon around 2025 for the first time since 1972. That mission,
under a roughly $3 billion contract, requires several
spaceflight tests in advance that could delay the 2025 moon
landing mission.

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(Reporting by Joey Roulette; Editing by Franklin Paul and Lisa
Shumaker)

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