The orbital test flight involves the liftoff of the Starship rocket to space, where it will perform less than a full orbit around Earth and reenter Earth’s atmosphere. The upper stage will splash down some 62 miles (100 km) off the northwest coast of Kauai, Hawaii, while the Super Heavy booster will come down in the Gulf of Mexico. The booster could fly back and attempt an assisted vertical landing at the launch pad, but that hasn’t been confirmed.

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Starship needs to fly soon. As per a $2.89 billion contract with NASA, the company needs to demonstrate that Starship can land humans on the Moon by late 2025 as part of the space agency’s Artemis 3 mission. But SpaceX still has an outstanding list of regulatory requirements that it needs to fulfill in order to get its license from the FAA, and it’s not yet clear whether the company has completed them.


This latest prediction has us excited for a December launch, as NASA is making this claim and not Musk for once. Still, we’ll believe it when we see the rocket finally take flight.

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