SpaceX Will Go To Orbit With Starship ASAP After 20 km Test Works

Elon Musk indicates that SpaceX will for orbit with Starship as soon as possible after the 20-kilometer test. The timing is based upon building the increased number of Raptor engines.

Three Raptor engines for the 20-kilometer flight
Six Raptor engines for an orbital flight with an expendable Starship without cargo
30 Raptor engines for an orbital flight with a minimal Super-heavy booster and Starship

Elon also tweeted that SpaceX was selected by NASA to launch the DART mission. This will be precursor mission to develop the capabilites to deflect asteroids.

SpaceX’s Starship and Super Heavy rocket are designed to deliver satellites to Earth orbit and beyond, at a lower marginal cost per launch than current Falcon vehicles.

With a 9m diameter forward payload compartment, larger than any other current or planned fairing, Starship creates possibilities for new missions, including space telescopes even larger than the James Webb.

Starship can deliver both cargo and people to and from the International Space Station. Starship’s forward payload volume is about 1,100 m3, providing significant capacity for in-space activities. The aft cargo containers can also host a variety of payloads.

Returning to the Moon and developing bases to support future space exploration requires the transport of large amounts of cargo to the Moon for research and human spaceflight development. The fully reusable Starship system is capable of supporting this effort by carrying the building blocks needed to enable a Moon base and by informing the development of propulsive landing systems to help realize this future.