Elon Musk wants SpaceX’s biggest rocket ready to launch in July, but experts say he may not get his wish

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk hopes to prepare the Starship spacecraft to fly in July.Patrick Pleul/Getty Images; Father with

  • Elon Musk may not be ready to launch SpaceX’s Starship rocket in July, say space industry experts.

  • SpaceX needs to carry out the 75 FAA actions by then, but two experts said they were quite small.

  • Musk always has very optimistic timelines, an expert told Insider.

Elon Musk intends to put SpaceX’s massive Starship rocket into orbit for the first time next month in a launch he hopes will revolutionize the space industry.

After the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) last week completed its environmental review of SpaceX’s Texas launch site plans, the billionaire said your company will have Starship ready to fly next month.

Starship is a fully reusable rocket that SpaceX wants to send to Earth orbit and outer space. Launching the 120-meter vehicle would take NASA one step closer to returning to the Moon and allow Musk to fulfill his dream of building a colony on Mars.

While the FAA found no significant environmental impact with SpaceX’s Boca Chica launch site, the company has yet to take more than 75 actions listed in the agency’s 43-page review. With just a few days to go until July, space industry experts aren’t convinced Starship will be ready to launch by then.

Greg Autry, a commercial space industry expert, told Insider that many of the FAA’s 75 terms are “very trivial, non-engineering requirements” that can be completed at the same time as others.

But he said Musk assumes that everyone who does the work is a clone of himself, or someone who is “a genius who basically never stops working. I’d bet the end of July is technically possible, but I’d bet my own money in August or September.”

Musk’s timelines are always very optimistic, Autry added, something the SpaceX CEO has admitted in the past.

SpaceX and Musk have predicted various dates for the launch of the Starship. These included July and November last year as well as January 2022. Musk’s last prediction was made in February, when he said he was confident the Starship would enter orbit this year.

For Olivier de Weck, professor of engineering systems at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, it boils down to two questions: can all the technical work be done before July, and does SpaceX have launch permission?

Like Autry, de Weck also said most of the FAA’s 75 actions are relatively small, such as collecting falling rocket debris and donating $5,000 to organizations that protect endangered birds of prey and ocelots.

“My guess is that SpaceX will work on these [terms] in parallel because they have a motivated and experienced team that works 80 hours a week,” he said. “A week at SpaceX is like a month at a normal company.”

De Weck said he wasn’t sure SpaceX could complete all the work in July.

“If it’s not July, it will be this summer – maybe August, September,” Weck said, adding that there’s a 75% to 80% probability that Starship’s first launch will happen this summer.

Adam Baker, co-founder of UK Launch Services and rocket systems expert, took note of the fact that Musk tweeted that SpaceX will be ready to launch the Starship into orbit in July, but not that it will actually happen.

It first requires a launch permit, he said, but the FAA is unlikely to issue one until all 75 actions are completed.

“Starship has the potential to change the way we travel in space, and that won’t happen without some environmental consequences, so some thought is needed,” added Baker.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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