Starbase general manager says Starship Flight early next year.

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SpaceX’s Boca Chica complex is set to become the central hub for the company’s Starship project. Kathy Lueders, SpaceX’s new General Manager, confirmed this during a recent event in Brownsville. This decision marks a shift from earlier plans, where SpaceX considered dividing operations between Boca Chica and Cape Canaveral.

In 2022, Elon Musk, SpaceX’s CEO, hinted at making Boca Chica a research and development site. However, with the Federal Aviation Administration’s approval of two orbital test flights from Starbase, Boca Chica’s role has expanded. The two successful flights, conducted on April 20 and November 18, have been milestones for SpaceX.

Lueders, a former NASA official, highlighted the significance of Starbase and its transformational role in her speech. She described witnessing the November 18 launch as a phenomenal experience. SpaceX is not only focusing on launches but also monitoring environmental impacts like sound and vibration.

The Starship project, pivotal for future moon missions, is progressing rapidly. The learnings from these flights are crucial for SpaceX’s goals, including reusing boosters and landing operations. The company’s contract with NASA to develop Starship as a Human Landing System is a significant part of the Artemis program.

SpaceX plans to enhance its launch cadence with a second launch pad and expanded facilities at Starbase. Lueders mentioned moving some testing operations to reduce disruptions at nearby beaches. The next Starship launch is tentatively scheduled for early 2024, reflecting SpaceX’s ambitious timeline.

Kathy Lueders, SpaceX’s new General Manager, emphasized the company’s commitment to innovation and growth at the Boca Chica complex. “It’s (a) very, very exciting time here at SpaceX,” she said, noting the transformative impact of Starbase on the company’s trajectory. Lueders also highlighted the community’s experience during the launches. “I hope you all were able to enjoy it,” she remarked, acknowledging the surprise of Brownsville residents at the intensity of the launch’s impact.

Discussing the technical achievements and challenges of the Starship project, Lueders reflected on the learnings from the test flights. “The Starship team learned a huge amount from data collected during the April 20 flight,” she stated, underlining the importance of these experiences in refining future missions. Lueders also shed light on the excitement within SpaceX following the successful stage separation in the November flight, which was a significant milestone for the team. The ongoing analysis of these flights is shaping the future direction of SpaceX’s lunar ambitions and the broader goals of space exploration.

That test site is very critical,” she said. “What it allows us to do is keep our test operations … away from the beach. We know that it’s a pain in the butt for everybody when we have to (be) close the beach. And so we’re moving more of our testing over there so that it doesn’t impact operations that are over near the beach.” Lueders continued in a conversation with the Brownsville Herald, “We would have love to have multiple flights next year,” she said. “It would be great if we were in the first quarter, definitely. Elon obviously would probably say the end of December, but I don’t think we’ll get there.

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