SpaceX’s first Starship test flight is targeting 9AM ET for liftoff.

Your Monday morning plans could include a groundbreaking rocket launch — SpaceX and Elon Musk are ready to attempt a Starship launch to orbit that’s scheduled to take place around 9AM ET.

The countdown’s first check-in should come two hours prior to liftoff, so keep an eye on our stream for any updates to the plans.

Elon Musk says SpaceX’s Starship spacecraft is ready to launch soonSpaceX’s Starship stacked on top of the Super Heavy rocket booster. Image: SpaceX

Last week, SpaceX announced it’s poised to launch the fully stacked Starship spacecraft for a first orbital flight test following a launch rehearsal this week and pending regulatory approval. Now SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is confirming it’s ready, with launch “trending towards near the end of third week of April,” Musk wrote in a tweet on Monday.

Starship is SpaceX’s long-awaited flagship spacecraft that’s designed to take astronauts and payloads to deep space — including the Moon and, of course, Mars. Most importantly, the parts are designed to be reusable, and it is paired with a massive booster known as the Super Heavy to get it off the Earth’s surface.

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31 out of 33 isn’t too bad.

Elon Musk says that only 31 of the 33 engines on SpaceX’s Starship booster actually fired, but the static fire test was still a thing to behold. Despite that, the test went really well otherwise according to the people over at the NASA Spaceflight channel, paving the way towards the ship actually launching.

They should start playing replays soon, so tune in if you want to see some flames.

SpaceX accused of age discrimination by former employeeGeneral view of SpaceX headquarters on August 03, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

A former SpaceX engineer published an essay today describing alleged age discrimination he says he experienced while he was at the company. “I saw my work roles gradually transferred to younger engineers who fit the company’s ‘frat bro’ mold,” John Johnson writes in the essay published on the platform Lioness.

“In the culture, in the environment of SpaceX, old people are rare. And when I say old people, I mean anyone over 40,” Johnson, who is 62, tells The Verge. In a job interview for his role at SpaceX, Johnson says he was asked whether he’d “be okay” working with young colleagues.

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Fired SpaceX employees file charges with National Labor Relations BoardSpaceX founder Elon Musk during an event on August 25th, 2022, in Boca Chica Beach, Texas. Photo by Michael Gonzalez / Getty Images

A group of former SpaceX employees has filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board, The New York Times reports. The employees say they were fired illegally after putting together a letter that called on the company to strengthen its “zero-tolerance policies” following sexual harassment allegations against Elon Musk.

Nine employees were ultimately fired after the letter came out in June, the Times reports, eight of whom filed the charges with federal regulators. The letter, first reported on by The Verge, asked SpaceX executives for three things: to curb “Elon’s harmful Twitter behavior,” to define and enforce the company’s sexual harassment policies, and ensure that all leadership is held accountable for violating such policies.

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The SpaceX fans who uprooted their lives and moved to StarbaseThe first time Anthony Gomez saw one of SpaceX’s Starship prototypes take flight, he watched it on a projector. He was far away from the humid Texas coast, where the actual launch was taking place. Instead, he was sitting in his house in Florida with his girlfriend.

On the wall of his home, Anthony admired the Starship rocket as it careened through the sky. All three of the Raptor engines cut off when the spaceship reached an altitude of roughly 41,000 feet, and the massive steel vessel began to plummet back to Earth, pitched over on its side, looking like a grain silo in free fall. Just before reaching the landing pad, its engines reignited, and the vehicle rapidly turned upright again as it prepared to touch down. But the spacecraft came down too fast, hitting the ground hard and bursting apart in a massive explosion. Afterward, only a charred patch of Earth remained where Starship once stood — a disappointment.

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Elon Musk’s Twitter chaos reaches SpaceXImage: SpaceX

It’s always fun to check in with SpaceX, Elon Musk’s least dysfunctional company — oh wait, what’s this? The workers at SpaceX are upset?

Last week, as first reported by The Verge, a group of SpaceX workers wrote a letter to Musk about his tweets. “Elon’s behavior in the public sphere is a frequent source of distraction and embarrassment for us, particularly in recent weeks,” the letter states. “As our CEO and most prominent spokesperson, Elon is seen as the face of SpaceX — every Tweet that Elon sends is a de facto public statement by the company. It is critical to make clear to our teams and to our potential talent pool that his messaging does not reflect our work, our mission, or our values.”

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SpaceX fires employees who wrote open letter complaining about Elon MuskPhoto by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

SpaceX has fired a number of employees who wrote and shared a letter criticizing the behavior of CEO Elon Musk, with the company’s president criticizing the letter as “overreaching activism.”

The open letter, first reported by The Verge, described Musk’s behavior as “a frequent source of distraction and embarrassment for us, particularly in recent weeks.” It cites SpaceX’s “No Asshole” policy and asks the company to “publicly address and condemn Elon’s harmful Twitter behavior.”

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FAA requiring SpaceX to make changes to Texas launch site ahead of future launchesSpaceX’s Starship prototypes at the company’s Starbase launch facility in Boca Chica, Texas. Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has determined that SpaceX’s plans for the company’s massive Starbase launch site in South Texas will have some environmental impact on the surrounding land and area — but not enough to require a full environmental impact statement. Now, SpaceX will need to make more than 75 changes to its proposal for the Starbase facility if the company wants to avoid additional review and eventually receive a license from the FAA to launch its new Starship rocket to orbit from the site.

SpaceX’s Starbase facility is located in a small town called Boca Chica, Texas, right on the southern tip of Texas along the Rio Grande river and the US-Mexico border. For the last few years, SpaceX has used the site to construct full-scale prototypes of Starship, the company’s next-generation monster rocket designed to take people and cargo to deep-space destinations like the Moon and Mars. SpaceX has already conducted various high-altitude test flights with Starship prototypes from Starbase, but now, the company hopes to actually launch Starship to space for the first time and send the vehicle to orbit.

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Elon Musk is hopeful Texas site will clear approval for Starship’s first orbital launchSpaceX CEO Elon Musk says he’s hopeful that his company’s launch facility in Boca Chica, Texas, will receive regulatory approval to launch by March and that the first orbital launch of SpaceX’s new Starship rocket will take place sometime this year.

Musk made these comments during his first presentation on Starship since 2019, which he gave last night at the company’s test facility in Boca Chica, Texas. Standing in front of a full stacked prototype of the rocket that towered high over the stage, Musk provided an overview of some of the latest specs of the vehicle, why he wants to pursue deep space travel, and when he expects to make all these plans happen.

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Five former SpaceX employees speak out about harassment at the companyIllustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

A group of former SpaceX employees are coming forward about their experience working at the commercial rocket company, claiming that there is a culture of sexual harassment in the workplace and that managers and the human resources department handled complaints poorly.

The individuals are speaking out in light of an essay published by one former employee, Ashley Kosak, who left SpaceX in November. In her account, Kosak details multiple instances of being groped and feeling uncomfortable after fending off sexual advances by her male co-workers. Four additional people who spoke with The Verge described their own troubling experiences at SpaceX or witnessing other women and nonbinary people being harassed. In three cases reviewed by The Verge, SpaceX HR was made aware of the allegations and had inconsistent responses that the employees felt were inadequate.

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The space tourism industry is stuck in its billionaire phasePhoto by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

Richard Branson’s extravagant jaunt to space on Sunday signaled the dawning of a new space age — for the few people that can afford it. Jeff Bezos is about to set off on a similar excursion next Tuesday when he launches to space with three others on his company Blue Origin’s first crewed flight. The two billionaires are validating their companies’ tourist-tailored rockets and, they say, fulfilling lifelong dreams to get a brief taste of space.

But what Virgin Galactic’s mission on Sunday proved, and what Bezos’ flight will similarly show, is that space is almost open, not for you and me or the general public, but for more billionaires.

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From Texas to Hawaii: SpaceX plans first orbital Starship testSpaceX plans to have its first Starship test flight to orbit launch from Texas and splash down off the coast of an island in Hawaii, according to a document the company filed with the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday. The orbital flight test would mark the first time SpaceX stacks both elements of its massive Starship system together, the next key development step in its attempt to build a rocket that could one day land on Mars.

As outlined in the document, a super heavy booster stage will launch Starship from SpaceX’s Boca Chica, Texas, facilities and separate in midair nearly three minutes into flight. About five minutes later, that booster stage will return back to Earth and splash down in the Gulf of Mexico — or as SpaceX puts it: it will “perform a partial return and land in the Gulf of Mexico approximately 20 miles from the shore.”

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SpaceX lands Starship prototype for the first time — and then it blows upSN10 standing upright after landing SpaceX

SpaceX’s latest Starship prototype landed on Wednesday for the first time after carrying out a high-altitude test flight in Texas — but exploded minutes later on its landing pad. The rocket, an early test version called SN10, demonstrated a few complex dances in mid-air before clinching a soft touch down, aiming to nail a key milestone in Elon Musk’s campaign to build a fully reusable rocket system.

After aborting an initial launch attempt earlier in the day, the prototype lifted off at 6:14pm ET and soared 6 miles above SpaceX’s Boca Chica, Texas facilities. Unlike the last two tests with SN8 and SN9, which launched successfully but exploded on their landing attempts, SN10 stuck a lopsided landing on a slab of concrete not far from its launchpad, appearing to survive its daring landing maneuver for a few moments before being consumed in a fireball.

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With ‘Starbase’ and a new Starlink factory, Musk deepens foray into TexasSpaceX’s Boca Chica Starship plant is growing rapidly.

Pieces of SpaceX’s ambitious plans to expand its sizable foothold in Texas were on full display this week in three very different corners of the internet. CEO Elon Musk speculated on Twitter about a proposed city in Texas named Starbase, while new job descriptions on the company’s website hinted at an anticipated “state of the art” factory for mass-producing Starlink satellites. And the company made its latest move in a protracted legal fight for a methane-rich piece of land that will supply fuel for Starship.

Here’s a breakdown of the latest details.

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SpaceX flies Starship prototype rocket to highest altitude yet — but doesn’t stick the landingDuring a test flight on Wednesday, SpaceX flew a prototype of its next generation Starship rocket to its highest height yet in the skies above Texas — but failed to stick the landing, with the vehicle exploding when it hit the ground. Propelled by three main engines, the vehicle launched to a target altitude of nearly 8 miles, or 12.5 kilometers, before crash landing into the Earth.

The nearly seven-minute test flight took off at around 5:45PM ET from SpaceX’s facility at Boca Chica, Texas. The prototype climbed to its target altitude, but during the flight, two of its three main engines seemingly shut down while it ascended. Eventually all three engines cut off, and SpaceX attempted to perform a “bell flop” maneuver, with the vehicle falling horizontally on the way down to Earth. Just before reaching the ground, the prototype reignited its engines — but the vehicle came in way too fast and blew apart when it hit the ground.

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SpaceX loses another Starship prototype in massive explosionA screengrab from SPadre’s livestream of the engine test Image: SPadre

A fourth prototype of SpaceX’s next generation Starship rocket exploded right after a test at the company’s south Texas test site on Friday. Shortly after SpaceX ignited the engine on the test rocket, a massive fireball engulfed the vehicle in flames, leaving very little hardware still standing and apparently causing damage to the test site.

The failed test comes just a day before SpaceX is set to perform an unrelated launch for NASA that will send two astronauts to the International Space Station. That historic mission will take place out of Cape Canaveral, Florida, on SpaceX’s workhorse Falcon 9 rocket, which has flown close to 100 times before.

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SpaceX’s massive Starship test rocket shines in Boca Chica, TexasOn Saturday night, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk gave a presentation in Boca Chica, Texas, on the development of his company’s next generation rocket, called Starship. Starship is meant to fly hundreds of passengers to deep-space destinations like the Moon and Mars. Flanked by a giant prototype of the vehicle, Musk vowed that Starship could fly to orbit as soon as six months from now, and carry its first passengers sometime next year.

“This thing is going to take off, fly to 65,000 feet — about 20 kilometers — and come back and land in about one to two months,” Musk said, referring to the stainless steel prototype behind him. The giant test article stood next to a SpaceX Falcon 1 rocket, the first vehicle the company put into orbit. The staging was symbolic, especially since the presentation occurred on the anniversary of SpaceX’s first flight to orbit with the Falcon 1.

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Elon Musk aims to put SpaceX’s Starship in orbit in six monthsSpaceX CEO Elon Musk would like his Starship spacecraft to make it to orbit in six months, he said during an evening presentation on September 28.  The event seemed aimed squarely at fans, with little new information and a lot of SpaceX history.

“This is going to sound totally nuts, but I think we want to try to reach orbit in less than six months,” Musk said. “Provided the rate of design improvement and manufacturing improvement continues to be exponential, I think that is accurate to within a few months.” 

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SpaceX just fired up the engine on its test Starship vehicle for the first timeAn artistic rendering of SpaceX’s planned Starship vehicle Image: SpaceX

A test version of SpaceX’s next-generation spacecraft, the Starship, successfully ignited its onboard engine for the first time today — though the vehicle didn’t go very far. The ignition was a test known as a static fire, meant to try out the engine while the vehicle remained tethered to the Earth. However, today’s test marked the first time this vehicle lit up its engine, and it could pave the way for short “hop” flights in the near future.

This particular vehicle, referred to as “Starhopper,” is meant to test out the technologies and basic design of the final Starship vehicle — a giant passenger spacecraft that SpaceX is making to take people to the Moon and Mars. The stainless steel Starship is supposed to launch into deep space on top of a massive booster called the Super Heavy, which will be capable of landing back on Earth after takeoff just like SpaceX’s current Falcon 9 rocket fleet. And when complete, the Starship/Super Heavy combo should be capable of putting up to 220,000 pounds (100,000 kilograms) into low Earth orbit, according to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, making it one of the most powerful rockets ever made.

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