Starship launch LIVE: Elon Musk’s SpaceX to launch world’s biggest rocket – and try to avoid another explosion

SpaceX Starship Launch (SpaceX)

SpaceX is going to try and launch its Starship again – and hopes to avoid it exploding this time.

Starship is both the tallest and most powerful rocket ever made. It will be the second test for the spacecraft, which Elon Musk’s private space company hopes will one day take humans to the Moon and beyond.

But first Starship must successfully conduct an uncrewed orbital test, which will see it leave from its launchpad in Texas and then fly almost all the way around the Earth.

The first time that SpaceX attempted to launch Starship, in April, it initially took off cleanly but ran into problems minutes later, spiralling out of control and then exploding.

SpaceX hopes to launch the rocket on Friday morning local central time – though that launch could be pushed back into the weekend or even further depending on conditions.

Starship is back and stacked

16:41 , Andrew Griffin

After being taken apart to make the required fixes to launch tomorrow, Starship has once again been stacked, and is standing tall* on its launchpad.

*Taller than any other rocket, for that matter.

What time will Starship launch?

08:43 , Andrew Griffin

SpaceX says the launch window for the rearranged Starship launch will open at the same time it had planned for today: 7am local central time, which is 1pm UK time.

A live video will start about 35 minutes before, SpaceX says on its launch page.

Launch postponed

Thursday 16 November 2023 19:59 , Andrew Griffin

Elon Musk has announced that the launch is postponed until Saturday, as suspected.

No information yet about timings, though the SpaceX livestream is showing the same time: 7am local central time.

Elon Musk tweets about free speech as public waits for news on Starship launch

Thursday 16 November 2023 19:23 , Andrew Griffin

As the world awaits for news out of SpaceX (see below), Elon Musk has posted. But it’s not about Starship – rather it’s about free speech and X:

His previous post was a retweet of the SpaceX post below, about Starship being stacked, so he knows people are interested. And he is well known to keep a very close eye on Starship.

Starship being taken apart

Thursday 16 November 2023 19:10 , Andrew Griffin

Starship is being destacked, which is to say taken back apart after it was put together, according to this image from Chris Bergin at Nasa Space Flight.

That doesn’t mean it won’t launch tomorrow, and SpaceX are yet to give any kind of update. But it almost certainly wasn’t part of the plan.

Fears launch might be delayed

Thursday 16 November 2023 19:05 , Andrew Griffin

Those watching the latest at the launchpad are seeing developments that might suggest SpaceX has found an issue that could cause it to “destack” (that is, take apart) Starship.

SpaceX hasn’t yet said anything about a possible delay to the launch. But the company’s livestream did briefly switch from 17 November to 18 November, which might be an indication it is being delayed.

The only confirmation however will come from SpaceX, and there is no indication when that might be.

The first launch of Starship did not go ahead on its first day. That had been scheduled for 17 April but it was pulled with about eight minutes to go because of a frozen valve; SpaceX scrubbed that launch and held it on 20 April, when it did actually take off.

SpaceX tweet shows Starship standing on its pad

Thursday 16 November 2023 19:01 , Andrew Griffin

SpaceX has tweeted an image of Starship standing ready for its launch.

But the post isn’t only a set of nice images. It’s also a reminder of what SpaceX is hoping to happen: “the stress on the question of “how much we learn” and “rapid iterative development” is a hint that the spacecraft might not have a safe journey this time around, either, but that SpaceX hopes to gain useful information either way.

Hello and welcome...

Thursday 16 November 2023 18:59 , Andrew Griffin

... to The Independent’s live coverage of the (attempted) launch of Starship.