Musk planning first orbiting SpaceX test flight in January

SpaceX will launch the largest rocket in the world, Starship, into orbit for the first time in January, CEO Elon MuskElon Reeve MuskElon Musk warns SpaceX employees of bankruptcy risk if Starship engine production doesn't increase: report Microsoft CEO Nadella sells off nearly 0 million in shares of the company The dangers of anarchy in space MORE announced.

Musk made the announcement during a meeting hosted by the National Academy of Sciences. The 394-foot, bullet-shaped rocket had an initial flight test in May, but SpaceX will launch the rocket into orbit from its mega booster, the Super Heavy, for the first time early next year.

Although Musk said the first attempt might not succeed, he's betting they will "make a lot of progress."


The success of the rocket, which is intended to be re-usable for launches, could mean the development of other rockets like Starship. Musk wants to launch satellites to orbit via similar Starships by 2023.

"I think this is quite profound, if we are successful," he said at the meeting. "The idea behind this is to have the first fully and rapidly reusable rocket. That's really the holy grail of rocketry."

Starship's success is critical: NASA has contracted with SpaceX to land Astronauts on the moon with the rocket by 2025, as part of the Artemis mission. The architecture of the ship is designed for moon and planetary landings.

In another mission for Starship, the rocket will take Japanese entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa to the Moon in 2023, where he will "become the first civilian passenger on a lunar Starship mission, featuring a fly-by of the Moon during their week-long journey," SpaceX said on its website.

Musk has announced plans to bring people to Mars with other Starships, intending to introduce technology that could "mass transport" people through space.

"The overarching goal of SpaceX has been to advance space technology such that humanity can become a multi-planet species," he said, "and make true the things we read about in science fiction."