SpaceX’s newly redesigned prototype of its next-generation Starship spacecraft could take off the ground just two or three months from now on, the company founder and CEO Elon Musk tweeted. The construction of the new test vehicle, known as SN1, is underway at SpaceX’s site near the South Texas village of Boca Chica and Musk has been sharing the videos and photos from the site on social media.
Last year in September, Musk unveiled a prototype design of the Starship spacecraft that would take people or cargo to the Moon, Mars, or other destinations around Earth. However, SpaceX initiated the redesign after the first full-size Starship prototype, called Mk1, blew its top during a pressurisation test in November 2019.
Musk shared a video of SpaceX team working on the Starship tank dome along with some pictures on December 28, 2019, calling it “the most difficult part” of the vehicle’s primary structure. Responding to a user who asked about the first test flight date of Starship, Musk said, “We’re now building flight design of Starship SN1, but each SN will have at least minor improvements, at least through SN20 or so of Starship V1.0.”
In another tweet, Musk said that the flight is hopefully two to three months away.
Flight is hopefully 2 to 3 months away
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 28, 2019
Earlier, SpaceX had been building Starship prototype at its facilities in Boca Chica and Cape Canaveral, Florida, but that plan has been shelved for now. Musk informed that the Boca Chica will not focus on Starship whereas the Cape Canaveral facility will work on Falcon and Dragon launch vehicles. “We’re focusing on Boca right now for Starship, & Cape is focused on Falcon/Dragon,” he wrote.
The overall Starship architecture consists of a 50 meters tall Starship spacecraft and a giant rocket known as Super Heavy. As per information provided by SpaceX, both of these vehicles will be fully and rapidly reusable, potentially slashing the cost of spaceflight enough to make Mars colonization and other exploration feats economically feasible.