Elon Musk says Starship Mars launch will be delayed as

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    The Starship is not lifting off for its first orbital launch anytime soon as SpaceX is currently involved in assisting Ukraine with its satellite internet services through Starlink. In a tweet posted on March 5, CEO Elon Musk revealed that the launch will get delayed as his company is now working on cyber security to save Starlink communications from being targeted by Russian hackers. “SpaceX reprioritized to cyber defense & overcoming signal jamming. Will cause slight delays in Starship & Starlink V2,” Musk wrote in his tweet.

    Starship nears its first orbital launch

    The mammoth Starship rocket, which is currently the best bet for taking humans to the Moon and eventually Mars, is waiting for its first long-distance launch since late last year. The rocket was initially targeted for launch in December 2021 but was delayed as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) delayed its review of the launch before licensing SpaceX. Musk, however, in a presentation in February said that he is ‘highly confident’ about a Starship launch in the next few months soon after the FAA gives green light for liftoff. 

    As for the timeline, the launch is expected no earlier than April as the FAA delayed its approval by a month in a recent announcement. “The FAA intended to release the Final PEA (Programmatic Environmental Assessment) on February 28, 2022. The FAA now plans to release the Final PEA on March 28, 2022, to account for further comment review and ongoing interagency consultations. A notice will be sent to individuals and organizations on the project distribution list when the Final PEA is available”, the agency said in its statement. 

    SpaceX’s Starlink reaches Ukraine

    Starlink is a network of around 2,000 low-earth-orbit satellites that link to user terminals on the ground to deliver high-speed broadband internet. As per internet watchdog NetBlocks, Ukraine witnessed frequent internet interruptions last week as Russian soldiers attacked from the north, south, and east. 

    After Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister, Mykhailo Fedorov requested Musk for help with the internet over fears of Russia’s cyberattacks, the SpaceX CEO activated the Starlink services over the country. SpaceX sent a truckload of Starlink antennas to Ukraine, however, he later warned that it is prone to attack since it is the only non-Russian communications system working in the country. 

    Image: AP/SpaceX

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