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SpaceX planning second launch attempt of Starship rocket Thursday

PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

(BOCA CHICA, Texas) — SpaceX will attempt a second launch of its Starship rocket after the first launch attempt was scrubbed due to a frozen valve in the pressurization system.

The launch will take place at the company’s Starbase facility in Boca Chica, Texas — about 20 miles east of Brownsville — with a 62-minute window opening at 9:28 a.m. ET. A live webcast will begin 45 minutes before liftoff.

It comes after CEO Elon Musk warned subscribers during a Twitter “Spaces” event for Sunday evening, to set expectations “low” and that the launch might be postponed.

Starship is currently the largest spacecraft in the world at about 393 feet, which is expected to eventually carry passengers to the moon and Mars in a similar vein to NASA’s Artemis mission.

“Starhsip is a fully reusable transportation system designed to carry both crew and cargo to Earth orbit, help humanity return to the Moon, and travel to Mars and beyond,” SpaceX said in a press release. “With a test such as this, success is measured by how much we can learn, which will inform and improve the probability of success in the future as SpaceX rapidly advances development of Starship.”

For this first flight test, SpaceX said it will not attempt a vertical landing of Starship or a catch of the booster.

If successful, Starship and its rocket, which is called Super Heavy, will head up to the skies and 33 Raptor engines will ignite simultaneously. About eight minutes after liftoff, Super Heavy will splash down in the Gulf of Mexico.

Meanwhile, the spacecraft will travel about 150 miles — partially around the Earth — and then splash down in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii about 90 minutes after liftoff.

After the valve issue was discovered Monday, SpaceX said the attempted launch would be turned into a wet dress rehearsal, meaning it simulates every stage of rocket launch, but without liftoff actually occurring.

Problems are not uncommon while preparing for a launch attempt. Last year, NASA had multiple failed attempts to get Artemis I off the ground before the successful launch on Nov. 16.

Faulty temperature sensors, liquid hydrogen leaks and the landfall of Hurricane Ian contributed to delays. However, the spacecraft finally managed to spend 25.5 days in space and journeyed on a 1.4-million-mile journey around the Moon before splashing down on Dec. 11.

Starship is eventually designed to carry up to 100 people on long-duration, interplanetary flights. Meanwhile, NASA recently announced the four astronauts who are planned to take their first steps on the moon by 2025.

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