SpaceX Starship’s First Orbital Flight Aiming for July, Says President

Speaking at the National Space Society’s virtual International Space Development Conference on Friday, SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said that the company is “shooting for July” to launch the first orbital spaceflight of its ‘Starship’ spacecraft — reports CNBC.

“I’m hoping we make it, but we all know that this is difficult,” she added.

Shortly after its Starship SN15 prototype successfully landed during a test flight in May, SpaceX filed plans for the first orbital spaceflight of a Starship prototype with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

A Starship prototype stands about 160 feet tall, is made entirely of stainless steel, and sits atop a ‘Super Heavy’ rocket that’s 230 feet tall. Combined, the entire structure gets to around 390 feet tall (that’s 39 storeys!)

According to the filed plans, the Starship prototype will launch from SpaceX’s facility in Boca Chica, Texas, achieve orbit, fly “3/4 of the way around the Earth”, and splash down “approximately 100km (~62 miles) off the northwest coast of Kauai” in Hawaii.

Starship is being developed as a fully reusable spacecraft to ferry both cargo and people on missions to the moon and Mars.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has been publicizing his hopes for an orbital spaceflight by July since as early in the year as of March. Musk “feels in a huge hurry” to develop Starship and create “a sustaining capability that will take people to the Moon and Mars,” said Shotwell.