Back, hopefully without a bang.
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Two months ago, SpaceX's Starship exploded spectacularly during its first orbital test flight after uneasily heaving itself into the skies above South Texas. Not quite a resounding success, though some experts might argue otherwise.
Now, if SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is to be believed — and as always, that's a big "if" — it could finally be getting its second chance later this summer.
Assuming SpaceX engineers deliver on their CEO's promise, that would put the follow-up flight sometime between late July and mid-August, though enthusiasts or critical onlookers have plenty of reasons to be skeptical.
Blast Zone Ahead
While Starship has comfortably earned plaudits for being the most powerful rocket ever built, that sheer power has proved difficult to tame. When it failed to separate during its inaugural orbital flight in April, Starship began to dangerously veer off-course, forcing its worryingly delayed self-destruction.
The rocket itself wasn't the only victim. Seemingly due to poor planning on SpaceX's part, Starship's almighty boosters obliterated the rocket's launchpad, which will not only have to be meticulously rebuilt, but equipped with additional systems to mitigate the insane amount of thrust being generated.
Even if engineers get all those technical challenges in line in less than just eight weeks, SpaceX has another imposing hurdle: the Federal Aviation Administration, which has grounded Starship pending a mishap investigation.
To complicate things even further, environmental groups have sued the FAA over the potential ecological impact of SpaceX's launches in the area, legal troubles that could drag on.
Whatever the timeline, SpaceX will have to start getting results sooner rather than later. NASA has already expressed its worries that further hiccups with Starship could force the agency to delay its moon landing mission dubbed Artemis 3, which is meant to make use of the rocket in late 2025.
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