SpaceX’s Starship rocket being prepared for takeoff on the launch pad at Starbase in Texas – Joe Skipper/Reuters
Elon Musk’s Starship will make its second launch attempt on Friday, after its first attempt ended in a fireball minutes after blasting off.
The billionaire’s 390-foot-tall rocket, which has been selected to carry a mission to the Moon by 2025 and is intended to one day take humans to Mars, will take off from Starbase’s launch pad in Texas.
The final launch attempt on April 20 failed when the SpaceX rocket’s first and second stages failed to separate, causing it to go into a tailspin and end in a fireball.
Mr Musk, the 52-year-old Tesla billionaire, has said the company has a “two-hour launch window” and is “aiming for Friday” to attempt a second flight of the rocket.
When is the second flight of Starship?
Starship will attempt to launch at 8am local time (1pm UK) on Friday, November 17, with a two-hour launch window. The launch show will start about half an hour before the scheduled launch time.
If it does not go ahead, there are backup windows on November 18, 19 and 20.
Space launches may be delayed due to technical glitches or bad weather. SpaceX aborted its last launch attempt after a malfunction before trying again three days later.
Where to watch the launch
SpaceX will stream the launch on its website and YouTube. You will also be able to watch the livestream on the Telegraph website or follow our live blog.
What to expect from Starship Countdown?
The live stream will begin approximately thirty minutes before the blast goes off. The company’s rocket is composed of two stages, a 230-foot booster section and a 164-foot Starship module, which will travel into space.
The rocket weighs a total of 5,000 tonnes and is capable of carrying a payload of 250 tonnes into orbit. The rocket itself generates 17 million pounds of thrust, twice as much as the Saturn V rocket that carried the original Moon landing mission.
The rocket’s 39 Raptor engines will begin cooling down about 20 minutes before launch.
Ten seconds before liftoff, SpaceX will activate its flame deflector, a powerful water system designed to reduce the explosive power of the rocket’s engines to protect the rocket and launchpad.
Three seconds before takeoff, its Raptor engine sequence will begin. SpaceX says: “Excitement guaranteed.”
After liftoff, the rocket will take 52 seconds to reach maximum mechanical stress – or maximum Q – before attempting to separate its first and second stages three minutes into flight.
The booster will then return to Earth attempting a splash landing in the ocean. If all goes well, the Starship module will cruise for about an hour before re-entry and landing in the water. Ultimately, SpaceX intends to make both sections of the rocket fully reusable.
What happened to the first starship launch?
While this is the theory, the first mission ended quickly , And with a bang.
The first Starship, launched in April, exploded minutes after takeoff – Patrick T. Fallon/AFP
The rocket suffered a “rapid undetermined decompression” while attempting to reach space for the first time.
The company said: “As if flight testing wasn’t exciting enough, Starship experienced rapid unscheduled disassembly before stage separation.”
The power of the rocket’s engines was such that when it exploded, the Starship left a huge crater in the ground and damaged much of the ground infrastructure surrounding the launch tower.
Despite its fiery end, SpaceX said that the first test flight “provided several lessons that directly contributed to numerous upgrades to both the vehicle and ground infrastructure to improve the likelihood of success on future flights”.
The company said its “iterative development approach has been the foundation of all of SpaceX’s major innovative advances”.
“Iterative improvements are essential as we work to create a fully reusable transportation system capable of carrying both crew and cargo to Earth orbit, allowing humanity to return to the Moon and ultimately to Mars and beyond. To help in further journey.”