BOCA CHICA, TEXAS — SpaceX has filed plans to launch its huge Super Heavy booster together with its Starship spaceship, as part of the first orbital test of the Starship.
This marks an exciting new development in SpaceX's efforts to deliver the first astronauts to the surface of the Moon since 1972.
This moon mission is part of a contract with NASA, and here are the details: The Verge reports that SpaceX has filed an application with the FCC, outlining its plans for the first orbital test flight of its Starship spaceship within a year.
Going orbital is a key stepping stone towards sending the first humans to the Moon since the Apollo missions.
To get that high, Starship's Super Heavy booster, a gigantic 70-meter rocket stage, will help it take off from SpaceX's facilities in South Texas.
The orbital flight test would mark the first time SpaceX stacks both elements of its massive Starship system together.
The booster stage will separate approximately 170 seconds into flight, and will then perform a partial return and land in the Gulf of Mexico approximately 32 kilometers from the shore.
Meanwhile, Starship will fly over the Florida Strait and continue into orbit, nearly completing a full trip around Earth before plunging back through the atmosphere over Hawaii, roughly 90 minutes after launching from Texas.
SpaceX says the landing would be a "powered, targeted landing" about 100 kiloometers off the northwest coast of Kauai in what it calls a "soft ocean landing." The Elon Musk-led company says it's hoping to "collect as much data as possible during flight — to quantify entry dynamics and better understand what the vehicle experiences in a flight regime — which is extremely difficult to accurately predict or replicate computationally."