SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas — Elon Musk’s SpaceX is attempting to launch its towering Starship rocket to space for the first time Monday from a private facility in Texas along the Gulf Coast. The current launch target is 9:20 a.m. ET.
It’s the culmination of several years of regulatory work and technological tests. Company leadership has repeatedly stressed the experimental nature of the launch. SpaceX had hoped to conduct the first orbital Starship launch as early as summer 2021, but delays in development and FAA approval pushed back the timeline.
Starship is designed to carry cargo and people beyond Earth and is critical to NASA’s plan to return astronauts to the moon. Two years ago, SpaceX won a nearly $3 billion contract from NASA to use Starship as a crewed lunar lander. That would see Starship be used for as part of NASA’s Artemis moon program, delivering astronauts to the lunar surface from the agency’s SLS rocket and Orion capsule.
Watch the run-up to the launch below and follow along for live updates from South Texas.