Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, announced on Thursday that the highly anticipated second launch of its next-generation Starship rocket has been delayed by a day due to technical problems. Originally scheduled for Friday, the test flight is now set to take place on Saturday, following a previous attempt in April that ended in a massive explosion.
“We need to replace a grid fin actuator, so the launch is postponed to Saturday,” Musk shared on his social media platform, X, formerly known as Twitter.
Grid fins are aerodynamic controls used by SpaceX to adjust and stabilize its rockets during descent, enabling them to land vertically. The actuators are the machine parts used to impart motion.
On April 20, SpaceX was forced to detonate an unmanned Starship rocket four minutes after liftoff from the Starbase launch site in Boca Chica, Texas, as the first-stage booster failed to separate from the spacecraft.
After a month-long investigation, the United States Federal Aviation Administration authorized SpaceX on Wednesday to make another attempt, despite objections from conservation groups and an ongoing lawsuit against the regulator for allegedly insufficient environmental impact assessments.
The launch window is set to open at 7:00 local time (13:00 GMT) on Saturday.
SpaceX envisions using the fully reusable Starship, which produces more thrust than any other rocket in history, as a vehicle for future Mars colonization. In the short term, NASA expects SpaceX to deliver a modified version to serve as a lunar lander module in its Artemis missions for a return to the Moon. The space industry is eagerly awaiting the outcome of this crucial test flight.