World’s largest rocket could launch in November, Musk says

BROWNSVILLE — SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said that Starship, the tallest and most powerful rocket ever developed, could launch from Texas in November.

Musk responded on Twitter Wednesday when asked about an update on the launch.

“Late next month maybe, but November seems highly likely. We will have two boosters & ships ready for orbital flight by then, with full stack production at roughly one every two months.”

According to Space.com, Starship will perform less than one complete orbit before splashing down northwest of Kauai, Hawaii, on the test flight. While designed to land vertically, the Super Heavy Booster stage is expected to splash down in the Gulf of Mexico.

Musk had promised in February that Starship would reach orbit by the end of this year.

Here are some things to know about the spacecraft and Super Heavy Booster, collectively referred to as Starship:

What makes this rocket different?

Not only will it be the world’s most powerful rocket ever developed, but it will also be the tallest, standing nearly 400 feet tall.

The two-stage rocket is fully reusable and designed to carry crew and cargo to Earth orbit, the moon, Mars and beyond.

The “Raptor” engines are powered by sub-cooled methane and oxygen.

Where is the launchpad located?

The Boca Chica “Starbase” launch site is located at the southernmost tip of Texas, near the border of Mexico. It is about 1,000 miles west of Cape Canaveral, where SpaceX currently launches astronauts and supplies to the International Space Station for NASA.

How soon will it go to the Moon?

NASA’s Artemis program includes a modified version of SpaceX’s Starship, called the Human Landing System (HLS). It will transfer astronauts from the Orion spacecraft in lunar orbit to the moon’s surface and back.

That mission, Artemis III, is scheduled no sooner than 2025, NASA told The Associated Press.

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa booked an orbit around the moon aboard Starship in 2018. At the time of the announcement, Maezawa and the crew of “dearMoon” was expected to launch in 2023.

What else can it do?

Starship can deliver larger satellites at a lower cost than the current Falcon rockets. It has a payload compartment larger than any fairing currently in operation or development, according to SpaceX.

Musk told AP in February that he hopes to deploy a fleet of Starships to create a city on Mars, hauling equipment and people there.