SpaceX finally puts a brake on the Starship test flight #2 date speculations by coming forward with an official announcement. The space flight and exploration company posted an update on X (Twitter) yesterday with a new NET date for the next Starship launch attempt to space.
“Starship preparing to launch as early as November 17, pending final regulatory approval,”. So, SpaceX will be launching Starship into space once again no earlier than (NET) 17th November 2023.
In our last Starship update, we identified a 13th November Boca Chica road closure notice by Cameron County. This notice has 2 alternate dates of 14th and 15th November if the test is not conducted due to any reason. However, these tests were clearly marked as “non-flight”.
We now have a concrete Starship 2nd orbital flight test date of 17th November and alternate windows in the next few days if for some reason the text is delayed.
However, as we can read through SpaceX’s official announcement, the final Starship flight approval by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is still pending.
In September, the acting FAA administrator Polly Trottenberg told reporters that SpaceX might be able to obtain the Starship launch approval as soon as October. But it’s still pending even a few days before the expected launch event.
SpaceX has completed the installation of TPS heat shield tiles and even installed the flight termination system (FTS) on Starship 25. In the first flight, Starship FTS failed for a brief period. The upgrades and improvements to this system were the primary reason for the delay of the 2nd orbital flight attempt.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has more confidence in this version of the Starship (Ship 25). He expressed this in a tweet in September. “Much higher chance of success than flight 1,” he wrote.
“This time, I think we have ~50% probability of reaching orbital velocity,” he wrote in another tweet earlier in August. “However even getting to stage separation would be a win,” Musk added to his statement.
No matter what the outcome is from this 2nd Starship launch, SpaceX will have another huge data set to improve future flights. Starship 28 is already in line for upgrades, improvements, and flight tests most probably going to happen next year.