SpaceX has received clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to launch its giant Starship from Texas as early as next week on a first test flight. The long-awaited license was issued on Friday, which means that the Starship, the world’s biggest and most powerful rocket, could take off soon.
According to SpaceX, the fully integrated Starship and Super Heavy rocket could soar as soon as next week during a 150-minute test window that will open at 8:00 a.m. ET on Monday. The Starship is a fully reusable transportation system designed to carry both crew and cargo to Earth orbit, help humanity return to the Moon, and travel to Mars and beyond.
The 394-foot (120-meter) rocket will not have people or satellites aboard during the test flight. SpaceX will attempt to send the spacecraft atop the colossal booster around the world, from the southern tip of Texas all the way to Hawaii. However, no landings will be attempted for this debut, and the first stage will be discarded in the Gulf of Mexico, while the spacecraft will be sent into the Pacific.
The Starship, made of shiny stainless steel and powered by methane-fueled engines, resembles a spacecraft from a 1950s sci-fi movie. The FAA said that SpaceX had met all requirements, including safety and environmental, and the license is valid for five years.
SpaceX’s CEO, Elon Musk, envisions using Starships to send people to the moon and Mars. NASA has already signed up for a Starship to put astronauts on the lunar surface as early as 2025.