Recently, the Elon Musk headed SpaceX requested for permission to fly their Starship rocket on a new 12-mile-high test flight. It has been reported that SpaceX is hoping to fly a test replica of their Starship to a high altitude, and then land it upright on solid ground. Here are all the developments in the story that have been reported so far:
According to reports by leading science and technology portals, Elon Musk headed SpaceX is seeking approvals from the Federal Communications Commission to conduct a test flight of their Starship replica from southern Texas. FCC is the authority that allocates the radio frequencies to companies that they can use to communicate with the vehicles during flight. In its filing, SpaceX notes that it wants the special authority to fly their Starship replica to an altitude of 20 kilometres or 12.4 miles i.e. almost halfway into space.
The reports also mention how Elon Musk’s SpaceX plans to launch their Starship rocket replica from Boca Chica, Texas, and land around the launching space with the help of the rocket’s raptor engines. It has been reported that SpaceX also plans on sending data about the flight trajectory to the US Air Force and NASA.
Such an experiment would mark beneficial to the development of Starship, a massive rocket that SpaceX is building to send people into deep space. The main intention of the Starship would be to travel to destinations such as Moon and Mars. According to the CEO of SpaceX, Elon Musk, the Starship rocket would be able to lift more than 100 metric tonnes of payload or carry up to 100 passengers at a time.
In 2019, SpaceX was reported to have launched a scaled-down version of the rocket to an altitude of 500 feet, and successfully land it upright afterwards. However, in November 2019, a rocket blew up its top during pressure tests, and SpaceX decided to scrap the project altogether. Flying any Starship vehicle to an altitude of 12 miles would be a massive step towards sending the rocket to the orbit.
While SpaceX has put in requests multiple authorities including FCC, to fly the test vehicle as early as March 16, there is a possibility that the test might not occur for a while. The filing of requests takes quite a long time, which means it could take as long as until September 16 to perform the high-altitude flight.
As of now, there have been no reports revealing the SpaceX Starship launch date. However, the SpaceX Starship launch date could be announced once the company receives all the required permissions for their test flight. In the meantime, Elon Musk and SpaceX are looking for passionate candidates who are willing to work on the Boca Chica project so that they can announce the SpaceX Starship launch date to the public sooner.