What time is SpaceX's 3rd Starship launch test on March 14?

SpaceX is hoping to launch its first Starship test of 2024 as early as Thursday (March 14) in what it hopes will be a historic orbital flight of the world’s biggest rocket, and if you need to know when to watch it online, you’re in the right place.

While SpaceX has yet to receive final approval and a launch license for its next Starship launch from the Federal Aviation Administration, the company has said it is targeting no earlier than March 14 for the launch from its Starbase facility near Boca Chica Beach in South Texas. The company has set up a livestream on X (formerly Twitter) that begins Thursday at 7:30 a.m. EST (1130 GMT). Since SpaceX has said the webcast would start 30 minutes before launch, that would peg the launch for 8 a.m. EST (1200 GMT) on March 14.

Related: See our SpaceX Starship and Super Heavy guide for a detailed look

SpaceX’s Starship vehicle and its Super Heavy booster are the world’s tallest and most powerful rocket. When stacked together, they stand 400 feet tall (122 meters), with the first stage powered by 33 Raptor engines, while the Starship upper stage carries six Raptors.

SpaceX has designed the Starship launch system to be fully reusable and hopes to use it for deep-space exploration, heavy-lift launches and space tourism. The company has already sold two private trips around the moon on Starship, with NASA picking Starship to land its Artemis 3 astronauts on the moon by 2026. But first, SpaceX has to prove its Starship can reach orbit, let alone the moon, and has failed to do so in two previous attempts in April and November of 2023. Here’s what we know about Flight 3, SpaceX’s third Starship test launch.

What time is SpaceX’s 3rd Starship launch?

SpaceX's third Starship vehicle stands stacked at the company's Starbase site in South Texas. SpaceX posted this photo on X on March 12, 2024.

SpaceX’s third Starship vehicle stands stacked at the company’s Starbase site in South Texas. SpaceX posted this photo on X on March 12, 2024.


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Currently, SpaceX appears to be targeting March 14 at 8 a.m. EST (7 a.m. CST/1200 GMT) for its third Starship test flight. The company has not issued an official launch time, but it has released the target launch day as well as a livestream feed that will begin at 7:30 a.m. EST (1130 GMT ) on March 14.

A SpaceX Starship Flight 3 mission description stated that the livestream will begin 30 minutes before liftoff, hence a likely 8 a.m. EST launch target. SpaceX has not announced a window for the Flight 3 launch. Past windows for Flight 1 and Flight 2 have ranged from two hours to 20 minutes.

Related: How to watch SpaceX’s 3rd Starship launch test online

SpaceX’s first Starship test flight launched on April 20, 2023 but never reached space. It was intentionally destroyed after its stages failed to separate. A second test flight on Nov. 18 did manage to reach space, but not its target altitude. The Super Heavy booster separated successfully from the Starship upper stage, but both vehicles eventually were destroyed shortly after stage separation.

“Each of these flight tests continue to be just that: a test,” SpaceX wrote in the description. “They aren’t occurring in a lab or on a test stand, but are putting flight hardware in a flight environment to maximize learning.”

Can I watch the 3rd SpaceX Starship launch?

Yes, you can watch SpaceX’s third Starship launch online, and you’ll likely have a few options by which to do so.

SpaceX has said it will provide a livestream of the Starship launch on its @SpaceX account on X (formerly Twitter), starting about 30 minutes before liftoff. Since SpaceX’s initial X livestream page states it will start at 7:30 a.m. EST (1130 GMT), that suggests to us that the company is aiming for an 8 a.m. EST (1200 GMT) launch target.

But, and this is very important, SpaceX’s plans could change.

“As is the case with all developmental testing, the schedule is dynamic and likely to change, so be sure to stay tuned to our X account for updates,” the company wrote in a mission overview.

SpaceX’s livestream of the Starship Flight 3 launch will also be carried by Space.com on YouTube and will be embedded at the top of this page.

You can also find several independent livestreams of SpaceX’s Starship launch that should include live commentary and views.

One site we like to follow is NASASpaceflight.com, which offers regular daily livestreams of Starship testing activities at the Starbase facility. The site will have extensive YouTube livestream coverage, likely beginning in the hours before SpaceX’s own webcast. Another option is Everyday Astronaut, which provides live Starship launch coverage and commentary as well.

If you happen to be in the Boca Chica, Texas area and are hoping to view the launch in person, you have several options.

There is no official SpaceX viewing site, but you can pick from several public beach areas from which you can see the launch. The nearby South Padre Island offers clear views of the rocket from the shoreline around Cameron County Amphitheater and Isla Blanca Park. Similar viewing areas can be found around the nearby shore of Port Isabel and the surrounding areas.

I actually watched Starship Flight 1 launch in April 2023 from the South Padre Island shore near Cameron County Amphitheater, and it does offer unobstructed views, with crowds lining the beach and on boats in the harbor. However, you will want to bring a folding beach chair, water and sunscreen. (There are bathrooms on site.)

Wherever you opt to watch the launch from, plan to arrive very early as traffic can cause lengthy delays reaching observing sites.

How long is SpaceX’s 3rd Starship flight?

Flight profile of a SpaceX Starship rocket test with boosters and spacecraft falling into the ocean

Flight profile of a SpaceX Starship rocket test with boosters and spacecraft falling into the ocean

The first two Starship test flights were designed to last 90 minutes, with the Starship vehicle reaching orbital speeds (if not actually entering orbit) and then returning to Earth with a reentry and splashdown off the coast of Hawaii.

For Flight 3, SpaceX is expecting a slightly longer flight, with the Starship vehicle aiming for a splashdown in the Indian Ocean. Other details are hard to come by at the moment, however; SpaceX’s published timeline for the mission, for example, ends about 8.5 minutes after liftoff.

“The third flight test aims to build on what we’ve learned from previous flights while attempting a number of ambitious objectives, including the successful ascent burn of both stages, opening and closing Starship’s payload door, a propellant transfer demonstration during the upper stage’s coast phase, the first ever re-light of a Raptor engine while in space, and a controlled reentry of Starship,” SpaceX wrote in its mission description. “It will also fly a new trajectory, with Starship targeted to splash down in the Indian Ocean. This new flight path enables us to attempt new techniques like in-space engine burns while maximizing public safety.”

Related: SpaceX to push the envelope on 3rd Starship launch

SpaceX’s first Starship flight aimed to reach an altitude of 146 miles (234 kilometers) while traversing a flight path that aimed to splash down in the Pacific Ocean about 140 miles (225 km) from the coast of Oahu, Hawaii. The second flight path was largely the same.

While Starship aims to fly farther on Flight 3, the Super Heavy booster is still expected to make a soft landing and splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico, miles offshore from Boca Chica Beach.

What if Starship can’t launch?

a large black and silver rocket vents vapor at night while standing upright on a launch pad

a large black and silver rocket vents vapor at night while standing upright on a launch pad


— SpaceX stacks Starship ahead of 3rd test flight (photos)

— How to watch SpaceX’s 3rd Starship launch test live online

— Starship and Super Heavy: SpaceX’s Mars transportation system

If SpaceX receives its launch license for Starship Flight 3 but is unable to launch on March 14, the company will likely make sure it has at least one or two backup days handy.

Officials with Cameron County, the Texas county that is home to SpaceX’s Starbase facility, have released a beach closure advisory that suggests road closures around Starbase through March 16, hinting at possible backup dates. SpaceX has not set a specific range for launch dates, however.

Any second launch attempt would likely depend on how far into the fueling process SpaceX gets for Flight 3’s first try. SpaceX has said it can take up to several days to resupply its propellant depot for a Starship launch, since the massive rocket and booster consume more than 10 million pounds of super-chilled liquid methane and liquid oxygen propellant.

If Space delays Flight 3 due to a technical glitch or malfunction, the timing of a new attempt would likely hinge on how long it takes to address the issue.  

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