Elon Musk Is Unsure If SpaceX’s Starship Will Launch Tomorrow For Third Flight

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SpaceX chief Elon Musk appears to be tempering his enthusiasm ahead of the firm’s third test flight of the fully stacked Starship rocket that is slated to take place early morning local time in Texas tomorrow. Starship is the world’s biggest rocket in size and payload capacity, and SpaceX’s tests aim to certify the rocket for operational status. So far, SpaceX has launched the second stage Starship several times as part of an earlier test campaign that sought to validate its design for a propulsive landing.

The fully stacked Starship, made of the second stage stacked on the Super Heavy booster, has been tested twice so far, with the tests marking incremental progress. Musk’s comments, made on X, built on his earlier statement that had promised a launch tomorrow if the weather did not prove to be a constraint.

Elon Musk Maintains Cautious Tone Ahead Of SpaceX’s Third Starship Test Flight

Throughout SpaceX’s latest Starship test campaign, its chief executive and chief engineer Elon Musk has kept a low probability of success for the rocket to be a complete success at launch. Before the first test last year, Musk stressed that it was more likely than not for Starship to fail, and before SpaceX kicked off the current campaign, he had shared multiple times that production constraints related to its engine could end up delaying progress if SpaceX was careless.

While the constraints appeared to have resolved as SpaceX has increased its rate of Raptor rocket engine production, Musk still appears to be measured ahead of tomorrow’s test. His latest Starship tweet (or X post) saw the executive remain doubtful that the rocket will take off tomorrow.

This is despite the fact that the FAA granted SpaceX approval to launch Starship tomorrow, today, as part of a data heavy release that highlighted a significant change to the second stage’s landing site.

Before the FAA granted its approval, SpaceX had taken the lead and announced earlier this month that IFT-3 would take to the skies on March 14th. Musk had confirmed this date, but had left out the chance of a potential delay by tweeting that flight three could take place by the “end of week” depending on weather conditions.

For a successful rocket launch, and particularly for those that have to attempt a landing, launch teams have to keep multiple weather data points in mind. While the weather, particularly winds, is important for the launch site, it also plays an important role in the recovery sites.

For SpaceX, this means that it also has to consider whether the weather in the landing area will be feasible for vehicle recovery. This becomes particularly important for Starship since it is a test rocket. Tomorrow’s test will see SpaceX test several aspects of its second stage ship as well as the post stage separation sequence of the Super Heavy booster’s landing profile. This includes starting the boostback engine burn, guiding the rocket while it’s transonic and initiating and terminating the landing burn.

You can watch the SpaceX Starship IFT-3 test in the official live stream below:

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