SpaceX could take its Mars-colonizing spaceship out for its excursion very soon.
Formerly known as the BFR, Musk announced on Thursday that the spaceflight company’s test version of the Starship dubbed the ‘hopper’ is nearly ready to test its flight. The test rocket is due to launch sometime this year that is stipulated to demonstrate the capabilities of the bigger Starship planned to send the first humans to Mars and kickstart a new era of space exploration.
CEO Elon Musk Tweeted that the flight-test version of SpaceX’s Starship vehicle could be ready to take its first short “hopping” excursion in a matter of weeks. The concept image published by CEO Elon Musk earlier this week has started to resemble the images captured at SpaceX’s Boca Chica test facility in Texas, which Musk described as looking like “liquid silver.”
Starship Hopper will do vertical flight tests similar to the Falcon 9 Hopper https://t.co/5dCrGFqymR
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 11, 2019
Initial plans were outlined in September 2017 showed what was then called the “BFR” measuring 348 feet tall. The tests are key to the company’s future plans, Musk said the company should have its first orbital prototype by June. The Starship is SpaceX’s new class of super-heavy launch vehicle and will allow for potential missions around the Moon and to Mars.
This work is taking place at both SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California. The first crewed Red Planet mission for the rocket and 100-passenger Starship could come as early as the mid-2020s if development and testing go well.