SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has shared new pictures of the orbital prototype of its next-gen Starship spacecraft from the Texas site. The company is building another Starship prototype in Florida as well. Starship will help pave way for interplanetary space travel to Mars as well as NASA’s mission to take astronauts back to the Moon by 2024.
Musk tweeted out pictures of dome-shaped bulkhead of the Starship as well as its airframe behind windbreak. The bulkhead measures 9 meters in diameter. “Just left Starship Texas build site. Very proud of progress SpaceX team has made! Pics are of 9m dome rotation & Starship airframe behind windbreak,” Musk said.
To recall, Musk had said in a tweet in July that Texas and Florida Starship prototypes will be ready to fly in two to three months. This means the two prototypes should be ready to fly by the end of August.
Prior to this, SpaceX successfully completed untethered jump of Starhopper power of a single Raptor engine in July. Starhopper is a prototype build for takeoff and landing tests. Of course, the Starship will fly directly into space.
Just left Starship Texas build site. Very proud of progress SpaceX team has made! Pics are of 9m dome rotation & Starship airframe behind windbreak. pic.twitter.com/1cmOzkPlkn
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 5, 2019
For those unaware, Starship is 117 meter, fully reusable second stage and space vehicle of the company’s Big Falcon Rocket (BFR), which was announced by Musk in September 2017. To recall, Musk previously announced to carry two BFR cargo missions to Mars by 2022.
A report by Reuters, SpaceX will expand its facilities in Florida to make room for Starship. The news agency claims to have seen draft of the company’s environmental assessment, which also reveals that the rocket could launch up to 24 times a year from SpaceX’s 39A launchpad.