At 8AM ET today, SpaceX will open a 20-minute launch window for Starship’s second-ever fully integrated test flight. If everything goes well during the pre-flight procedures, and if the weather cooperates, then we’ll see the company’s spacecraft make another attempt to reach space. SpaceX completed Starship’s first fully integrated launch in April. While it was considered a success, the company wasn’t able to meet all its objectives and had to intentionally blow up the spacecraft after its two stages failed to separate.
As a result of that incident, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had grounded Starship while authorities conducted an investigation. They found that the explosion scattered debris across 385 acres of land, caused pulverized concrete to rain down on areas up to 6.5 miles northwest of the pad site, and started a wildfire at Boca Chica State Park. The FAA required SpaceX to make 63 corrective actions before it could give the company clearance to fly its reusable spacecraft again.
SpaceX said that this flight will debut several changes it implemented due to what happened during Starship’s first test flight. They include a new hot-stage separation system, a new electronic Thrust Vector Control (TVC) system for Super Heavy Raptor engines, reinforcements to the pad foundation and a water-cooled steel flame deflector.
The company’s live broadcast of the launch starts at 7:24AM ET on its website and on X. If the Starship’s stages can successfully separate this time around, its upper stage will fly across the planet before splashing down off a Hawaiian coast.