SpaceX Starship Mega Rocket Could Launch Next Week

Tanya Taylor
The Starship Mega Rocket has high expectations. A successful launch will pave the way for the next generation of space travel.
SpaceX rocket launching from Starbase for demo mission.
SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket demo mission, 2018. Photo: SpaceX on Unsplash

According to recent reports, SpaceX’s Starship Mega Rocket could launch next week. The event is highly anticipated and could change the future of space travel. The launch will potentially occur on Monday, April 11th, pending license approval from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The Mega Rocket will lift off at its production site, Starbase, in Boca Chica, Texas. If everything goes to plan, it will complete a lap of the Earth – before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii. 

The Starship Mega Rocket

According to Gizmodo, the Starship is 390 ft (120 meters) tall and is the largest and most powerful launch vehicle ever built. It cost $2-10bn to develop, and the super heavy booster has 33 Raptor rocket engines. The craft is fully reusable, and engineers can refuel it in orbit.

SpaceX states that the mega ship can carry 150 metric tonnes (150,000 kg) and can refuel before going from low earth orbit to the moon. It will comfortably carry cargo and up to 100 people and will be a pioneer in commercial space travel. 

If the launch is a success – SpaceX intends to use the rocket to deliver materials to the moon to construct a moon base. Potentially, it could also transport cargo on Earth – with the capacity to travel halfway around the world in an hour. 

Elon Musk, the owner of SpaceX, intends to use the rocket for his controversial Starlink programme. He wants to send at least 12,000 satellites into space, but he faces opposition from professional astronomers and environmentalists due to the light pollution caused by the satellites.  

The Launch

A SpaceX model on display at the USA Pavilion, Dubai. Photo: Aslam Sha | Unsplash

The SpaceX team is waiting for a license to launch from US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The license approval is almost complete, but the FAA needs to resolve some environmental issues first. 

Ars Technica reports that the FAA has scheduled the launch date for Monday, April 10th – and has also reserved the 11th and 12th as backups. Additionally, NASA has allocated their high altitude WB-57 aircraft for the dates, which will track the mega ship’s progress.

According to Reuters, the rocket will launch from its development site, Starbase, in Boca Chica, Texas, and intends to complete a full orbit.

The super heavy booster will separate from the ship shortly after launching and land in the Gulf of Mexico. The team expects the spacecraft to splash down in the Pacific Ocean near Kauai in Hawaii.

Elon Musk, the owner of SpaceX, thinks the rocket only has a 50 percent chance of completing the test flight. However, he thinks there’s an 80 percent chance it will reach Orbit.

The Future Of Space Travel

Mars – the red planet. Destination for the Starship Mega Rocket. Photo: Planet Volumes | Unsplash

SpaceX aims to use the rocket to take people into “earth orbit, the moon, mars and beyond”. If the launch is successful, the ship will potentially transport people across the universe with the first interplanetary, long-duration space flights. 

The Starship Mega Rocket will serve the public and private sectors. NASA has contracts with SpaceX and hopes to use the ship for human moon landings for the Artemis expeditions.

Musk has also sold commercial seats for Starship flights, including to the Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa for his dearMoon programme.


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