SpaceX has just announced that today’s orbital flight test attempt of the Starship launch system will now be a wet dress rehearsal, due to a frozen pressure valve.
That means countdown will conclude at T-10 seconds. The news came at around T-8 minutes and countdown. It will take at least 48 hours for the company to recycle the vehicle, meaning another launch attempt won’t take place until Wednesday morning at the earliest.
So far, SpaceX seemed to have nominal launch preparations, with propellant loading starting earlier this morning at the company’s sprawling facility near Boca Chica, Texas. The company is preparing for the first-ever orbital launch attempt of the Starship rocket, which consists of a Super Heavy Booster and an upper stage, also called Starship.
Starship is the most powerful rocket ever built, surpassing even NASA’s Space Launch System, which flew for the first time last year. Once operational, it will be capable of carrying 100-150 tons of mass to orbit, the moon or even Mars. Indeed, Starship is the cornerstone of SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s plans to make humans a multiplanetary species.
But even before it takes off for Mars, SpaceX has already amassed an impressive number of launch contracts for the system. Those include a $2.9 billion contract from NASA, which will see Starship retooled to land humans on the moon. Multiple private human spaceflight missions are also booked on Starship. Initiatives like dearMOON, headed by Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, will use Starship to send a crew of nine on a lunar mission. Billionaire Jared Isaacman’s Polaris program is also booked on Starship.