SpaceX’s Starship, the cutting-edge rocket aimed at Mars missions, is poised for a third orbit attempt. Slated for February, this was announced by SpaceX’s Jessica Jensen. Jensen discussed the Starship’s schedule during a press conference with NASA. Here, NASA also updated on its Artemis missions.
Key Points of the Announcement
- Upcoming Starship Test: SpaceX plans another Starship test by late January, aiming for a February orbit.
- NASA’s Artemis Delays: NASA’s Artemis II and III missions are postponed for safety checks. This includes ensuring the reliability of Starship.
- Starship’s Role: Integral to NASA’s Artemis missions, Starship will ferry astronauts to the moon. Despite two failed tests, SpaceX is optimistic about its progress.
SpaceX has announced its intention to attempt a third orbital test flight of its next-generation rocket, Starship, as early as February. Jessica Jensen, a SpaceX executive, revealed this timeline during a recent press conference with NASA, which also included updates on the delayed Artemis II and Artemis III moon missions.
SpaceX is not deterred by these setbacks. Jessica Jensen, SpaceX Vice President of Customer Operations & Integration, stated that Starship could be ready for another test flight by the end of January, pending license approval from federal authorities.
Bill Nelson, NASA’s administrator, announced a delay in the Artemis II and III missions, citing safety as a primary concern. This includes ensuring the safety of all private spacecraft, such as Starship, which are crucial to the Artemis program’s success.
After the planned February test flight, SpaceX anticipates multiple additional flight tests for Starship, including orbital missions and an uncrewed moon landing. Jensen predicts that Starship could land on the moon by 2025, coinciding with NASA’s revised schedule for the Artemis II crewed flight.
Slated for September 2026, Artemis III is set to be the first crewed lunar landing since 1972. This mission will see a diverse crew, including the first woman and person of color, launched aboard NASA’s Space Launch System rocket and Orion capsule. Once in lunar orbit, they will dock with Starship for their descent to the moon’s surface.
Despite the challenges, SpaceX remains focused on exhaustive testing and perfecting Starship. Jensen emphasized the importance of extensive flight tests and a successful uncrewed lunar landing before deploying Starship for Artemis III.
The Path to the Moon
- Safety First: SpaceX’s focus remains on rigorous testing. Jensen outlined plans for multiple test flights, including an uncrewed moon landing.
- Artemis II & III Rescheduled: Artemis II, now planned for 2025, will orbit the moon. Artemis III, moved to September 2026, will mark a historic lunar landing.
- Milestone Missions: Artemis III will see diverse astronauts land on the moon. They’ll travel via NASA’s Space Launch System and Orion capsule, docking with Starship for lunar descent.
Challenges and Expectations
- Starship’s Testing Journey: Ahead of Artemis III, Starship faces numerous tests, including moon landing simulations.
- SpaceX’s Commitment: Jensen emphasized the importance of exhaustive Starship trials to ensure mission success.