It's not yet clear exactly when the craft will depart the ground as Elon Musk's company is waiting on approval from the Federal Aviation Administration. The launch could happen as early as Monday, SpaceX announced.
Musk tweeted his frustration about the government agency Thursday.
"Unlike its aircraft division, which is fine, the FAA space division has a fundamentally broken regulatory structure," he wrote. "Their rules are meant for a handful of expendable launches per year from a few government facilities. Under those rules, humanity will never get to Mars."
The FAA said it was working with SpaceX to approve the mission and denied holding up the process, the Washington Post reported.
The FAA has "a responsibility to the American people and particularly those who live in the southern Texas area to make sure they are not put at undue risk," a person with knowledge of the FAA's thinking told the Post.
The person said the FAA was "pedaling very fast" and "doing everything to speed things up to become more efficient and more effective and agile while still maintaining public safety," the Post reported.
The launch is the latest in a series of efforts to eventually carry people to Mars in as little as six years.
The SN9 launch is expected to be similar to December's SN8 launch over Boca Chica, Texas, near Brownsville. The rocket will be equipped with a nose cone, body flaps and three engines.
Last month's test ended in a massive explosion after returning to the landing site a bit too fast. You can see that test flight in the video player above.
The full-scale, stainless steel model - 160 feet tall and 30 feet in diameter - soared out over the Gulf of Mexico. After about five minutes, it flipped sideways as planned and descended in a free-fall back to the southeastern tip of Texas near the Mexican border. The Raptor engines reignited for braking and the rocket tilted back upright before the dramatic fireball.
The entire flight - as dramatic and flashy as it gets, even by SpaceX standards - lasted just over six minutes and 40 seconds. SpaceX broadcast the sunset demo live on its website; repeated delays over the past week and a last-second engine abort Tuesday heightened the excitement among space fans.
WATCH: The full SpaceX test launch and crash landing
"Awesome test. Congratulations Starship team!" read a scroll across the screen.
Fuel header tank pressure was low during landing burn, causing touchdown velocity to be high & RUD, but we got all the data we needed! Congrats SpaceX team hell yeah!!— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 9, 2020
Musk kept expectations low going into this first high-altitude attempt by Starship, cautioning earlier this week there was "probably" 1-in-3 chance of complete success.
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