Elon Musk wants to send a spacecraft into orbit as early as July


The SN9 spacecraft prototype awaits launch in Texas.


SpaceX is targeting July to take its next big step on the path to Mars. This is when Elon Musk says he hopes to launch a prototype spacecraft that includes the “full stack” of the main spacecraft overlapping the new one. Super Heavy Rocket Booster.

Stripped Starship prototypes with three Raptor engines have completed a series of three high-altitude flights over the past four months. All these flights have ended in dramatic explosions and none have yet taken a vessel beyond Earth’s atmosphere.

A full flight would likely be the first attempt to send a prototype spacecraft into orbit. On Tuesday, Musk confirmed a timeline, first reported by NASASpaceflight.com, that SpaceX is aiming for a full-stack first flight by July.

Musk, of course, is known to miss his ambitious deadlines, but SpaceX has big plans for Starship in the near future. The company has raised the possibility of landing an unequipped spacecraft on the moon as early as next year, with a first trip to Mars coming perhaps a few years later.

It all depends on the success of several things and the planned schedule. SpaceX will need to complete a field test campaign for Super Heavy in the coming months and try out some Starship design changes that are in the works.

It would also be ideal for perfecting the landing for Starship, although the fireworks display at the end of its first test flights was a pretty stark sight.

SpaceX SN8 flew high and landed hard.

SpaceX / CNET video capture by Jackson Ryan

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