SpaceX is set to undertake the second-ever launch of its colossal Starship vehicle this morning (November 18), and you have the opportunity to witness the event live.
The Starship, recognized as the largest and most potent rocket ever constructed, is scheduled for liftoff from SpaceX’s Starbase facility in South Texas within a 20-minute window opening at 8 a.m. EST (1300 GMT; 7 a.m. local Texas time).
The live coverage, brought to you by SpaceX and available here on Space.com, is expected to commence around 7:25 a.m. EDT (1225 GMT).
SpaceX is in the process of developing the Starship to facilitate transportation for both people and cargo to destinations such as the moon and Mars, while also handling various spaceflight tasks closer to Earth. NASA has selected the Starship as the primary crewed lunar lander for its Artemis program, with several private moon missions lined up.
Comprising two components designed for complete and rapid reusability, the nearly 400-foot-tall (122 meters) Starship consists of a first-stage booster named Super Heavy and a 165-foot-tall (50 meters) upper stage referred to as Starship.
Having only flown together once on a test flight on April 20, the mission aimed to send the upper stage partially around Earth, concluding with a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii. However, the stages failed to separate as planned, leading SpaceX to intentionally destroy the vehicle over the Gulf of Mexico.
The upcoming test flight on Saturday mirrors the April mission, seeking to accomplish what the debut flight could not. If successful, Super Heavy is anticipated to splash down in the Gulf of Mexico approximately seven minutes after launch. Meanwhile, Starship will travel east over the ocean, reach near orbital velocity, and descend in the Pacific near Hawaii about 90 minutes after liftoff.
Originally scheduled for Friday (November 17), the launch was postponed by SpaceX for a day to replace one of Super Heavy’s grid fins, crucial for steering the booster back to Earth after launch.