SpaceX unveils steel Starship prototype

By on 2 October, 2019

Images shared by SpaceX show the Starship prototype being assembled at its Texas facility.

The first images of SpaceX’s Starship Mk 1 prototype have been shared, a vehicle which SpaceX founder Elon Musk says could take humans to Mars.

The gleaming, 50-metre tall spacecraft weighs 200 tons and could commence a test flight within months, according to Musk.

Never one to shy away from a bold claim, he added that pairing the Starship with a Super Heavy booster stage would give Starship a payload capacity of 99,790 kilograms and be capable of achieving orbital flight within six months, according to Gizmodo.

The Starship is designed to carry cargo and humans to Earth orbit, lunar orbit and perhaps eventually — Mars.

The shared images show clear development and a resemblance to concept images, relative to the earlier Starhopper prototype which was used to test the Raptor rocket engines.

The Starship’s gleaming 1950s sci fi look comes in part from its 301 stainless steel construction, which Musk says has excellent temperature resistance and has kept production costs down. SpaceX says they will rapidly iterate new Starship prototypes and new versions of the Raptor engine, with a target of one new engine per day by early 2020.

Learn more about Starship in SpaceX’s live update from September 29 below.

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