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The Starships and its Super Heavy Boosters are powered by the company’s uniquely designed series of Raptor engines.
The mission to take humans to space as being nursed by SpaceX is poised to take another leap as the company is expected to make its first Starship orbital flight in May. The scheduled timeline was confirmed by Elon Musk, the company’s Chief Executive Officer who took to Twitter to share comments in response to an article from CNBC detailing the chances in which SpaceX will be a clear leader in the space race as Russia has distanced itself from the industry.
In the Twitter thread, Musk said the plan was for the company to control approximately 65% of the global launch mass to orbit this year. According to him, other growth in demands may push this market share to about 70% with approximately 800 tons of payload set to be sent into space this year.
Elon Musk is not just being ambitious on social media as the SpaceX engineers have been working tirelessly to make the milestones achievable within the set time. The SpaceX team has been developing the infamous Starship rocket that is capable of sending a huge number of people and cargo into space. Per the design, the Starship is built to be reusable, hence, coming off as one of the most sustainable alternatives in the market as of today.
It is worthy of note that the Starships and its Super Heavy Boosters are powered by the company’s uniquely designed series of Raptor engines. As confirmed in the tweet, as many as 39 of these engines will be flightworthy by April, and at most, the company will take another month to complete all necessary integrations.
“First Starship orbital flight will be with Raptor 2 engines, as they are much more capable & reliable. 230 ton or ~500k lb thrust at sea level,” Musk’s tweet reads, “We’ll have 39 flightworthy engines built by next month, then another month to integrate, so hopefully May for orbital flight test.”
First Starship orbital flight will be with Raptor 2 engines, as they are much more capable & reliable. 230 ton or ~500k lb thrust at sea level.
We’ll have 39 flightworthy engines built by next month, then another month to integrate, so hopefully May for orbital flight test.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 21, 2022
SpaceX Starship Orbital Flight Requires Approval
This is not the first time SpaceX will be setting a timeline for the launch of the Starship rockets into space. While a number of high altitude test flights have been completed in the past, space flight has generally been slowed down due to developmental issues as well as delayed regulatory approval.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is still conducting an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and other checks that will make it clear SpaceX for the planned orbital flight in May. As reported by CNBC, the timeline for the FAA to complete its assessment is scheduled for March 28, and hopefully, the delays hinging on regulations will be done away with should the approval be given.
Besides SpaceX, other space companies including Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc (NYSE: SPCE) are also making remarkable strides in the battle to reign as the dominant company that will take humans to space and beyond.