First Full Stack Starship Launch Scrubbed
SpaceX scrubbed the first test flight of its fully stacked Starship rocket on Monday, citing a problem with the pressurization system on the Super Heavy first stage. The launch was scheduled to take place from SpaceX's Starbase facility in Boca Chica, Texas, but was stopped with less than nine minutes left in the countdown. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted, "A pressurant valve appears to be frozen, so unless it starts operating soon, no launch today."
The company claims Starship is a reusable spacecraft designed to carry people and cargo to the moon, Mars and beyond. It consists of a 23-story-tall first stage called Super Heavy and a 164-foot-long upper stage called Starship. The two stages together stand 394 feet high and have 39 Raptor engines (33 in Super Heavy and 6 in Starship) that can generate 16.7 million pounds of thrust at liftoff, making Starship the most powerful rocket ever built.
The test flight would have marked the first time that a fully integrated Starship vehicle would have flown to the edge of space. SpaceX has previously tested Starship prototypes on suborbital flights, although never to orbit. The company plans to use Starship for its lunar lander contract with NASA's Artemis program, as well as for its own Mars colonization ambitions.
SpaceX said it will wait at least 48 hours before attempting another launch. The company has not announced a new launch date or time yet. The weather forecast for Boca Chica shows partly cloudy skies and moderate winds for the next few days, with a slight chance of rain on Wednesday.