Emma Sulaiman, Staff Writer
Photo//Shutterstock, Sergey Nivens.
On November 18 at 8:00 AM (EST), SpaceX is planning to launch their rocket, Starship, from Boca Chica, Texas. The launch was initially supposed to take place on November 16 but was postponed due to the need to replace a rocket part, as Elon Musk stated. This launch is a critical milestone for SpaceX, especially in the context of their previous attempt in April, which unfortunately ended in failure when the spacecraft exploded.
Here’s what to expect for this weekend’s launch: the spacecraft stands at 397 feet tall, composed of 33 engines. The Starship's two stages will separate approximately 2 minutes and 40 seconds after liftoff, and after about seven minutes the SuperHeavy will detach and fall into the ocean near the Gulf of Mexico. It will then continue to orbit the Earth – but not complete a full circuit – and will fall into the ocean around Hawaii for a grand landing after about an hour and a half of a journey. It will reach a top speed of about 17,000 mph, which is close to orbital velocity.
If this all goes as planned, it will be a monumental step. With more proper development, Musk hopes to have a test flight to Mars within the next three or four years. NASA hopes that Starship will fulfill this mission because it brings us closer to visiting the Moon again for the first time in five decades.
The US is currently “racing” China to create the first lunar base, so NASA and Musk have high hopes for this expedition. According to the SpaceX website, Starship’s mission is to make it possible for trips to space beyond Mars for more than just cargo. He hopes to carry passengers in his spacecraft.
This highly anticipated event can be streamed live on the app X, and CNN will be giving live updates. Whether this turns out to be a success or a failure, which experts think will result in something in between, we should expect another SpaceX launch in the near future.