Elon Musk’s SpaceX could conduct the maiden orbital flight of its Starship Super Heavy spacecraft as early as next week, according to an air traffic advisory released by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The FAA’s notice showed that the launch’s primary date is 10 April 2023 and listed 11 and 12 April as backup dates.
SpaceX is yet to receive a launch licence for the first orbital flight.
“The FAA has not made a licence determination for the SpaceX Starship Super Heavy operation, and the FAA’s Command Center planning notice should not be interpreted as an indicator that a determination to issue a licence has been made or is forthcoming,” Reuters quoted the FAA as saying in a statement.
Citing sources, the news agency said that SpaceX could get the FAA’s clearance on Monday, 10 April 2023.
Although the licencing procedure was almost over, an environmental compliance check might extend it, the sources cautioned.
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The 120m tall spacecraft includes a Starship rocket system stacked on the “Super Heavy” first stage or booster rocket with 33 engines.
The vehicle will be launched by SpaceX from its Starbase facility in Texas.
The Starship’s second stage will be launched into space and complete a full orbit before returning to Earth’s atmosphere and landing off the coast of Hawaii.
According to SpaceX, the Super Heavy spacecraft is designed to carry both crew and cargo to Earth orbit, the Moon, Mars and beyond.