SpaceX aims to launch Starship again in 6 to 8 weeks, Elon Musk says

space'x starship rocket rises into a blue sky during its first test flight in april 2023.
SpaceX Starship streaks through the sky on its first test flight on April 20, 2023. (Image credit: PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

SpaceX's huge Starship rocket could fly again before the summer is out.

A fully stacked Starship, the biggest and most powerful rocket ever built, launched for the first time ever on April 20

The test flight, from SpaceX's Starbase site in South Texas, aimed to send Starship's upper-stage spacecraft most of the way around Earth. But that didn't happen; while the vehicle notched some significant milestones, it also experienced several serious problems, and SpaceX sent a self-destruct command a few minutes after liftoff.

Ever since, SpaceX fans have been wondering when Starship will launch again. And company founder and CEO Elon Musk just gave them something to look forward to, saying via Twitter yesterday (June 13) that the company is shooting for another liftoff six to eight weeks from now.

Related: Relive SpaceX's explosive 1st Starship test flight in these incredible launch photos

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That timeline may be ambitious, however, given the amount of prep work required ahead of the second flight.

For example, the liftoff damaged Starbase's orbital launch mount, blasting out a big crater beneath it and sending chunks of concrete flying, along with a huge cloud of dust and other debris. SpaceX has been developing and testing a water-cooled steel plate that will sit beneath the mount and prevent a recurrence of this problem, Musk said recently.

The company could also face some regulatory hurdles. A coalition of environmental groups is currently suing the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the body that issued Starship's launch license, saying the agency didn't properly assess the potential damage that the giant vehicle could inflict on the South Texas ecosystem and the human communities around Starbase.

It's also worth noting that "six to eight weeks" is not a new Starship prediction for Musk. He laid out a similar timeline for the next test flight during an April 29 discussion of the debut launch on Twitter Spaces (though in that case he was referring to the projected readiness of Starbase and Starship, not predicting when the flight would occur).

The 394-foot-tall (120 meters) Starship consists of a first-stage booster called Super Heavy and a 165-foot-tall (50 meters) upper-stage spacecraft called Starship. Both of these elements are designed to be fully and rapidly reusable, the key breakthrough that Musk thinks will revolutionize spaceflight.

NASA is a believer in the new space transportation system; the agency selected Starship as the first crewed lander for its Artemis moon program. Starship is slated to deliver NASA astronauts to the lunar surface as soon as 2025, if current schedules hold (though there's certainly a chance they will not).

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Mike Wall
Senior Space Writer

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.

  • rocketwatcher
    It took 4 months just to submit the mishap report. I can’t wait to read it. My main concerns are the failures of the FTS (Flight Termination System). It appears to be at least 3 separate and distinct failures, including engines that continued to operate for almost a minute after the shutdown command had been sent. The vehicle flew completely out of control for approx 50 seconds after the Flight Termination System sent the command to self destruct. Luckily the vehicle had been under some control for the first 2 minutes of the flight, had it lost control earlier, it could have hit downtown Brownsville with the same explosive force as the Soviet N1 moon rocket explosion 50 years ago. To my knowledge, this is the first FTS failure of this magnitude in U.S. Space history.

    I can’t wait to read the report, and I’m sure the FAA will be going through it with a fine tooth comb.