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SpaceX has completed one of the last major tests of its Starship rocket ahead of the craft’s first-ever orbital launch attempt to Mars.
The private space company performed a “full flight dress rehearsal” of a spacecraft stacked on top of a Super Heavy booster on Monday at its Starbase facility in Boca Chica, Texas.
SpaceX boss Elon Musk said earlier this month that he was aiming for Starship’s first-ever orbital flight test next month. If successful, it will be the largest rocket launch in history.
“Starship completed its first full flight-type wetsuit rehearsal at Starbase today,” SpaceX announced on Monday.
“It was the first time an integrated ship and thruster had been fully loaded with over 10 million pounds of thruster.”
SpaceX said the purpose of the test was to help verify a complete launch countdown sequence, as well as assess Starship and orbital launch pad performance for “flight-like operations.”
The space firm is still awaiting approval from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), while technical issues and adverse weather conditions could also delay the launch.
In a statement to The Independentan FAA spokesperson said: “The FAA will only make a licensing decision once the agency is satisfied that SpaceX has met all licensing, safety and other regulatory requirements.”
The first Starship missions are likely to be to the moon as part of Nasa’s Artemis program, after SpaceX secured a multibillion-dollar contract with the US space agency to use the craft as a lander.
Future missions will then see it used to ferry people and cargo across the solar system, with the ultimate goal of establishing a permanent human colony on Mars by 2050, according to Musk.
. rocket starship complete first rehearsal dress complete before launch orbital