The private aerospace company SpaceX will launch its powerful Starship rocket this Saturday from Texas, the largest ship in the world with which NASA seeks to return to the Moon.
If everything goes well, The Starship will take off from the SpaceX facilities in the town of Boca Chica, in the extreme south of Texas (USA), and it will do so powered by the first stage of the rocket, the Super Heavy launcher with 33 Raptor engines.
SpaceX is scheduled to launch starting at 7 am (local time) with a two-hour window. The ship, which together with the booster rocket measures 121 meters high, is expected to reach its orbit and make an almost complete revolution around the planet to complete its journey in the waters of the Pacific Ocean, near Hawaii.
And the space industry is looking forward to this test flight, initially scheduled for this Friday, after a first attempt that ended in a massive explosion.
On April 20, SpaceX was forced to explode an uncrewed Starship rocket four minutes after taking off from the launch base because the first stage booster did not separate from the ship. The ship disintegrated into a fireball and crashed into the Gulf of Mexico, sending a cloud of dust over a city several kilometers away.
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After a month-long investigation, The United States Federal Aviation Administration finally authorized SpaceX to try again on Wednesday, despite objections from conservation groups and an ongoing lawsuit against the regulator for allegedly failing to conduct sufficient environmental impact assessments.
The firm has made some improvements, among them one related to the separation process and by which the second stage, the Starship itself, will turn on its engines during the same separation process, and not after, in order to achieve more power.
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Changes have also been made to the Starbase launch pad, in Texas, to mitigate the effects of the first stage engines, and which constitutes one of the aspects analyzed by the FAA after the first test carried out on the morning of April 20 .SpaceX plans to use the Starship, a fully reusable spacecraft that produces more thrust than any other in history, as a vehicle to colonize Mars in the future.
The US space agency is also closely monitoring the results of the test flight, given that The Starship will be responsible for taking the astronauts of the manned Artemis III mission to the lunar surface, a trip initially contemplated for the year 2025.
The Artemis program, with which NASA will return to the Earth satellite after more than 50 years, has the Space Launch System (SLS) launch rocket and the Orion capsule, which have already been tested in the unmanned mission Artemis I, which between November and December 2022 orbited the Moon and then returned to Earth.
According to some specialized media, the US space agency, which is in a race with China that has the Moon as its goal, has spent some 4 billion dollars (3.6 billion euros) on the development of the Starship.
*With AFP and EFE
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