1st orbital test flight of SpaceX's Starship Mars rocket pushed to March at the earliest

The first test-fire of six Raptor engines on the company's Starship SN20 rocket prototype was shown in a photo. A booster is at the right. The image is from the SpaceX.

We will have to wait a bit longer for the launch of the rocket.

The company's South Texas launch site was supposed to be ready by December 31, but the FAA has yet to finish the PEA.

But that is no longer the case. The final PEA has been pushed back to February due to the high volume of comments submitted.

The Super Heavy rocket is being lifted onto the stand.

FAA officials wrote in an update Tuesday that members of the public submitted more than 18,000 comments about the draft PEA.

People and cargo will be sent to the moon, Mars and other deep-space destinations with the help of a new project by the company. NASA chose Starship as the first crewed moon lander for its Artemis program.

The huge vehicle consists of a first-stage booster called Super Heavy and a 165-foot-tall (50 meters) spaceship known as Starship. Both will be powered by the same engine, six for Starship and 30 for Super Heavy.

The prototypes flew above Starbase, a facility near the South Texas village of Boca Chica. The upcoming test flight will be much more ambitious and will launch a Starship atop a Super Heavy for the first time.
The Super Heavy will splash down in the Gulf of Mexico after liftoff, while the Starship vehicle will complete a loop around Earth and splash down in the Pacific Ocean.

We could see that launch as early as March, because the company plans to be ready when the green light is given. "FAA approval is the schedule driver," Musk said in response to a question about the test flight's target date.

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