Update as of April 17, 9:30 a.m. EDT: SpaceX scrapped today’s launch attempt due to fuel problems. A new attempt will occur before April 19. We’ll update our coverage as soon as the new release time is announced.
The world will be watching today (April 17) as SpaceX attempts to launch its Starship, the world’s largest rocket, into space for the first time, and you can too with a free webcast from the private spaceflight company.
SpaceX’s first Starship test flight is currently set to launch from the company’s Starbase facility near the village of Boca Chica in South Texas. 9:20 a.m. EDT (8:20 a.m. CDT/1320 GMT) at The start of the launch window, which runs 150 minutes (by 10:30 a.m. EDT/1430 GMT) SpaceX’s webcast is scheduled to begin 45 minutes before liftoff 8:15 a.m. EDT (1215 GMT). You can watch or watch it live above and on the Space.com homepage at launch time Live from SpaceX’s webcast (opens in new tab) And its YouTube channel (opens in new tab).
“Winning is possible, excitement is guaranteed!” SpaceX founder Elon Musk wrote on Twitter after receiving his Starship launch license from the Federal Aviation Administration late Friday (April 14).
Related: How SpaceX’s 1st Starship Orbital Launch Will Work
SpaceX’s first orbital launch of Starship will demonstrate the viability of the company’s next-generation launch system, the company’s Starship SN24 prototype on a super-heavy booster (called Booster 7), which is ultimately designed to be fully reusable. At 395 feet (120 meters), it is the tallest and most powerful rocket in the world. Its super-heavy first stage alone is powered by 33 methane-fueled Raptor engines.
SpaceX will use Starship to land NASA’s Artemis 3 astronauts on the moon in 2025, and plans to use the spacecraft for at least three private space missions, two of which will take passengers around the moon. Starship is SpaceX’s plan to fly astronauts to Mars as part of the company’s long-term goal of colonizing the Red Planet.
“Starship is a fully reusable transportation system designed to carry crew and cargo into Earth orbit, return humanity to the Moon, and travel to Mars and beyond,” SpaceX wrote. A job description (opens in new tab). “With an experiment like this, success is measured by how much we can learn, which will inform and improve the probability of success as SpaceX accelerates the development of Starship in the future.”
For its first launch, SpaceX’s starship will lift off from its starbase pad, but not attempt to land. Instead, the superheavy booster is about 3 minutes into the flight and is intended to make a soft landing and splash down in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Starship vehicle, meanwhile, is expected to reach an orbital velocity that will take it around the world toward a target splashdown point in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Hawaii. The entire Starship test flight will last about 90 minutes, according to SpaceX.
And things may not go as planned.
“As with all development experiments, this schedule is dynamic and subject to change, so be sure to stay tuned to our social media channels for updates,” SpaceX wrote in its mission overview. “As we enter new territory, we continue to appreciate the support and encouragement we receive from those who share our vision of a future humanity explores among the stars!”
Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to reflect that SpaceX’s Starship will not reach orbital velocity during its first test flight. Tune into Space.com on Monday, April 17, to watch SpaceX’s first Starship launch at 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT). The live webcast is expected to begin at 8:15 a.m. EDT (1215 GMT).