BOCA CHICA, Texas – SpaceX’s Starship spacecraft and Super Heavy rocket, the world’s most powerful launch vehicle ever developed, was expected to lift off from a Texas facility on Monday, but due to a frozen pressure valve, the attempt was scrubbed and instead moved to a wet dress rehearsal.
The decision to stop the launch attempt Monday morning was announced by Elon Musk.
"A pressurant valve appears to be frozen, so unless it starts operating soon, no launch today," he said in a tweet.
Teams are working towards Thursday, April 20, for the new first flight test time of the fully integrated Starship and Super Heavy rocket, SpaceX announced Monday evening .
The massive spacecraft stands nearly 400 feet tall, with the Super Heavy rocket standing at 226 feet and the Starship and second stage of the spacecraft standing at 164 feet.
The Raptor engines, which are just over 4 feet tall, power the Starship spacecraft and have twice the thrust of the Falcon 9 Merlin engines.
SpaceX says Starship is powered by six engines – three Raptor engines and three Raptor Vacuum (RVac) engines, which are designed to be used in the vacuum of space. Super Heavy is powered by 33 Raptor engines, with 13 in the center and 20 engines around the perimeter of the bottom of the powerful booster.
Starship will also be able to carry up to 150 metric tons fully reusable and 250 metric tons that will be expendable. SpaceX adds that Starship is also capable of point-to-point transport on Earth, allowing travel to anywhere in the world in one hour or less.
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When the launch does occur, the Super Heavy booster rocket is expected to splash down over the Gulf of Mexico, and the Starship spacecraft will circle the globe and land in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii.
The space company anticipates the rocket will take about 90 minutes to reach its orbit and splashdown in the Pacific.
SpaceX Starship launch is years in the making
Minutes after the Federal Aviation Administration awarded SpaceX a launch license for its massive Starship spacecraft and Super Heavy rocket from the Texas launch facility, the space company announced its plans to launch the powerful rocket Monday morning.
SpaceX had sought clearance for the rocket launch for nearly two years, but an extensive review and changes to the original application slowed down the federal approval process.
SpaceX's Starship spacecraft could pave the way for the company to eventually replace the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets with the Starship spacecraft and Super Heavy rocket.