SpaceX CEO Elon Musk updated the world about the status of the Starship prototype construction by tweeting photos of the vehicle
The images show Starship Mk1’s assembly in Texas. Musk posted two photos of the assembly in progress with joking captions referring to Area 51 and the Star Wars movies. Meanwhile, Starship Mk2 is being developed at SpaceX’s facilities in Florida.
Starship Mk1 and Mk2 are the next prototypes that follow the Starhopper vehicle – the first prototype of the Starship – which completed its fourth and final test late last month. Mk1 and Mk2 will use at least three Raptor engines, unlike the Starhopper, which used a single engine, and will go much higher than the first prototype. Testing Mk1 and Mk2 will place SpaceX closer to the completion of Starship, which will launch atop the Super Heavy rocket and carry up to 100 passengers.
The final version of the starship will have six Raptor engines, and will be reusable, along with the Super Heavy. According to the company’s plans, it will eventually fly missions to Mars.
Musk expects the Mk1’s assembly to be completed in the next 10 days: he is scheduled to provide a Starship design update at the company’s Texas facilities on September 28.
SpaceX representatives say that fully operational flights of the Starship could happen as early as 2021. 2023 is the target for sending billionaire Yusaku Maezawa on a flight around the moon.
In the meantime, the world is staying tuned: the first test lights for Mk1 could take place as early as October, with the initial experiment reaching an altitude of more than 19,000 meters.
Photo credits: Elon Mask via Twitter