SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell says she is hoping for a Starship orbital launch in July

  • SpaceX’s president said the company is “shooting for July” for its first Starship orbit mission. 
  • The company is yet to receive regulatory approval from the FAA for such a launch, per SpaceNews.
  • “I’m hoping we make it but we all know that this is difficult,” said Gwynne Shotwell at a conference.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

SpaceX’s president, Gwynne Shotwell, said the company is “shooting for July” for its first Starship rocket orbit launch, SpaceNews reported

Speaking at the National Space Society’s International Space Development Conference on Friday, Shotwell said: “I’m hoping we make it, but we all know that this is difficult.”

She added: “We are really on the cusp of flying that system, or at least attempting the first orbital flight of that system, really in the very near term.”

The orbital test of the Starship rocket, which is expected to last around 90 minutes, is set to launch from South Texas and splash down off the coast of Hawaii, according to the company’s FCC filing in May, as reported by Insider’s  Kate Duffy.  

SpaceX hasn’t yet received the regulatory approvals needed for such a launch, however. 

In June, a source told CNN that the company may have to delay its orbital mission scheduled for July 1, because of ongoing assessments of wildlife and ecosystems around the launch area.

The regulatory reviews, which needed to be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration, would grant SpaceX a launch license, the source added. 

As it stands, SpaceX’s existing license only covers suborbital flights of the Starship rocket, per Space News.

The reviews need to ensure that the Starship-Super Heavy system won’t damage nearby wildlife or ecosystems around its launch pad in Boca Chica, Texas — which wouldn’t be processed in time for an early July launch, Insider previously reported

SpaceX may eventually need a new environmental impact statement, which could take up to three years to achieve, Insider’s Morgan McFall-Johnsen and Aylin Woodward reported in March.  

Shotwell had made no reference to the licensing and environmental review process at the conference, Space News reported. In her later remarks, she said: “I never want to predict dates because we’ll still in development, but very soon.”

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