SpaceX’s long-anticipated second launch of its Starship rocket, initially set for Friday morning, has been delayed due to the need to replace flight control hardware, according to chief executive Elon Musk.
Earlier in the week, SpaceX had been given the all clear by the FAA for the second orbital test flight of the 400-foot-tall Starship upper stage rocket and Super Heavy booster.
On Thursday, Starship was stacked on the launch pad, ready for flight.
“This is another chance to put Starship in a true flight environment, maximizing how much we learn,” SpaceX said on X, formerly Twitter, on Thursday morning. “Rapid iterative development is essential as we work to build a fully reusable launch system capable of carrying satellites, payloads, crew, and cargo to a variety of orbits and Earth, lunar, and Martian landing sites.”
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But by Thursday afternoon, Musk relayed that the launch was to be pushed back a day.
“We need to replace a grid fin actuator, so launch is postponed to Saturday,” Musk said.
Starship stacked for flight. This is another chance to put Starship in a true flight environment, maximizing how much we learn.— SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 16, 2023
Rapid iterative development is essential as we work to build a fully reusable launch system capable of carrying satellites, payloads, crew, and cargo… pic.twitter.com/Gkx7lKYVuz
In April, Starship was grounded by the FAA, which launched an investigation after its initial test flight exploded in flames when the spacecraft lost control during stage separation after just minutes.
The second Starship flight test is set to launch Saturday, with a 20-minute window opening at 7 a.m. CST.