We’re about to get another progress report on SpaceX’s huge Starship Mars rocket.
SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk announced last week that he’ll give a big Starship update on Thursday (Feb. 10) at 9 p.m. EST (0200 GMT on Feb. 11). The presentation will presumably be webcast live; if so, you can watch it here at Space.com, courtesy of SpaceX, or directly via the company.
SpaceX is developing Starship to carry astronauts and cargo to the moon, Mars and beyond. The giant vehicle consists of two elements, both of which are designed to be fully and rapidly reusable: a first-stage booster called Super Heavy and a 165-foot-tall (50 meters) spacecraft known as Starship.
Photos: SpaceX lifts huge Super Heavy rocket onto launch stand
Musk periodically gives in-depth presentations about Starship progress and plans. But it’s been a while since we got one; Thursday’s will be the first such status report since September 2019.
There should be a lot to talk about on Thursday. SpaceX is gearing up the first-ever Starship orbital test flight, which will lift off from the company’s Starbase facility in South Texas. SpaceX plans to launch that mission as soon as possible after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) wraps up an environmental assessment of Starbase. That review is expected to be complete at the end of this month, FAA officials have said.
SpaceX already has some Starship missions on the books. For example NASA picked the giant vehicle as the lunar lander for the first crewed surface mission of its Artemis program, a touchdown that’s targeted for 2025 or thereabouts.
And Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, who recently returned from a tourist trip to the International Space Station, has booked a Starship trip around the moon for himself and a handful of artists. That mission could launch as soon as next year.
Mike Wall is the author of “Out There” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or on Facebook.