SpaceX to Attempt Another Starship Rocket Launch After Mid-Air Explosion

(Bloomberg) -- Elon Musk’s SpaceX is poised to launch its deep-space Starship rocket system Saturday from South Texas for the second time ever, a critical mission roughly seven months after the vehicle’s first major test flight ended explosively in mid-air.

The Starship spacecraft, designed to launch on top of its massive Super Heavy booster, is set for lift-off at 7 a.m. local time from SpaceX’s Starbase launch site in Boca Chica, Texas. The company has a 20-minute launch window on Saturday.

Starship and Super Heavy are supposed to separate a little more than two-and-a-half minutes into flight, sending Starship close to orbit on a nearly full lap around the Earth before it splashes down in the ocean off the coast of Hawaii.

If Starship does successfully reach near-orbital speeds on this go around, it will put SpaceX significantly closer to unlocking the full potential of the monumental vehicle. Starship is the largest and most powerful rocket ever developed, standing at 397 feet (121 meters), 34 feet taller than the Saturn V that sent Neil Armstrong to the moon. It’s designed to carry payloads and people to distant destinations like the moon and Mars, making it central to Musk’s vision of starting a settlement on the Red Planet.