With an FAA launch license in hand, SpaceX is set for the second test flight of a fully integrated Starship rocket. Success or failure, it’s guaranteed to be a visual spectacle. Here’s how you’ll be able to take in the action.
The two-hour launch window opens at 8:00 a.m. ET on Friday, November 17, with the rocket blasting off from SpaceX’s Starbase facility in Boca Chica, Texas. A second temporary flight restriction in the region suggests a backup window on Saturday, November 18 from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. ET.
The two-stage rocket lasted for approximately six minutes during its first test flight on April 20, with a failed stage separation forcing ground controllers to issue a self-destruct command with the vehicle above the Gulf of Mexico.
You can watch a live webcast of the flight test at SpaceX’s website or at SpaceX’s official X channel. A number of third-party providers will also be setting up livestreams, which we will add here as they become available. NASASpaceflight’s “Countdown to Launch,” available below, should keep you busy and informed in the meantime.
For the second test flight of Starship, SpaceX will test its new water-cooled steel flame deflector, a new electronic thrust vector control system for the booster Raptor engines (to steer the vehicle during flight), and a new hot-staging approach, in which the Starship upper stage engines will ignite prior to stage separation. Over a thousand different modifications were made in preparation for the rocket’s second flight test.
Should all go well, Booster 9 will splash down in the Gulf of Mexico, while the upper stage Ship 25 will do the same in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii. Starship won’t be going orbital for this flight, with the mission not lasting any longer than 90 minutes.
At 400 feet tall, and exerting some 16 million pounds of thrust, Starship is the most powerful rocket ever built. SpaceX is banking on this rocket, but so too are NASA and other industry partners. Hopefully, progress will be made, with SpaceX taking the necessary steps to move this ambitious project forward.
Want to know more about Elon Musk’s space venture? Check out our full coverage of SpaceX’s Starship megarocket and the SpaceX Starlink internet satellite megaconstellation. And for more spaceflight in your life, follow us on X and bookmark Gizmodo’s dedicated Spaceflight page.