SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies Corporation) is an American aerospace manufacturer, satellite communications company, and launcher headquartered in Hawthorne, California. It was established in 2002 by Elon Musk with the aim of making space transportation more affordable to facilitate Mars colonization. The company produces various launch vehicles such as Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, and Starship, as well as multiple rocket engines, spacecraft like Cargo Dragon and Crew Dragon, and Starlink communications satellites.
One of the notable projects being developed by SpaceX is the Starlink satellite internet constellation, which is designed to provide commercial internet services. By January 2020, Starlink had become the largest satellite constellation ever launched, and as of December 2022, it consisted of more than 3,300 small satellites orbiting the Earth.
SpaceX is preparing to launch Starship, the most powerful rocket ever built. The rocket is nearly 400 feet high and has almost double the thrust of any rocket in history. It is designed to be fully and rapidly reusable, and Elon believes it could lead to an era of interplanetary travel for humans.
Elon has requested that people keep their expectations in check as the launch is planned for Monday April 17 2023, acknowledging that it’s common for rockets to encounter some form of failure during their first launch. The lift-off time for Starship is set for 08:00 local time in Boca Chica, Texas, which is equivalent to 13:00 GMT or 14:00 BST.
If all proceeds as intended, Starship would lift off and traverse the Gulf for nearly three minutes with its 33 engines burning methane fuel. Subsequently, the rocket’s two components will detach, and the ship segment will advance with its own engines for roughly six minutes and 23 seconds. By then, the vessel should be above the Caribbean, cruising at an altitude of more than 100km in space. It is then expected to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere after almost a complete revolution around the planet, and it will land in the Pacific just north of the Hawaiian Islands after a bellyflop into the ocean 90 minutes after takeoff.
NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) is closely watching the Starship launch with interest, as they have provided SpaceX with a substantial amount of funding, nearly $3 billion, to create a modified version of the Starship that will eventually transport astronauts to the Moon.