SpaceX has released a video showcasing its reusable Starship spacecraft ahead of its first orbital test flight that it hopes to conduct in the coming weeks.
Once the next phase of testing is complete, SpaceX wants to fly an uncrewed Starship to the moon, land it upright on the lunar surface, and then bring it home. Crewed missions to the moon would likely follow. The ultimate goal is to send a crewed Starship to Mars, though don’t expect that to happen anytime soon.
In the meantime, sit back and enjoy its 90-second Gateway to Mars video (below) showing off Starship, with the almighty Super Heavy rocket also making an appearance toward the end (watch Starship being lifted onto the top of Super Heavy at the 1:20 mark).
Gateway to Mars pic.twitter.com/cej13QdyJP
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) October 23, 2021
SpaceX has already tested Starship in a series of short high-altitude flights. The spacecraft, which is powered by six Raptor engines, performed well in the air but crashed at the end of the mission when trying to land upright — until the last flight in May when SpaceX finally achieved a successful landing.
SpaceX is currently waiting for permission from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to launch Starship atop its new Super Heavy rocket that would send the spacecraft on its first orbital flight.
Assuming the FAA gives it the green light, SpaceX will launch the orbital mission from its facility in Boca Chica, Texas. Around three minute after lift-off, Starship will detach from the powerful first-stage booster.
The spacecraft will then fly into orbit for the first time. Soon after, Starship will perform a splashdown off the Hawaiian island of Kauai, with the entire mission expected last around 90 minutes. Future flights will see Starship land upright on land so that it can be refurbished for another flight.
SpaceX has said the aim of the flight is to collect as much data as possible to fully understand Starship’s entry dynamics and learn more about what the vehicle experiences during flight. It will then use any discoveries to improve the next version of the spacecraft.
In the meantime, SpaceX is currently preparing to launch four more astronauts to the International Space Station this weekend using its workhorse Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft.