SpaceX has worked a lot throughout last weekend at his test facility in Boca Chica, Texas, where it is finalizing the last prototype of the starship that Elon Musk hopes to send to Mars one day. The eccentric billionaire has shared new SpaceX photos and videos of the state of play: you see the “fins” installed on the bottom of the rocket, referred to as Starship Mk1, which may be able to take it into orbit.
This is a significant improvement over the first-generation Starhopper prototype, which was withdrawn in the last few weeks after making only two short “jumps” that exceeded 149 meters. The work of SpaceX in the last hours seems to be undergoing a major acceleration: a presentation is scheduled for Saturday where Musk will provide an update on the design of Starship and its upcoming missions. In previous presentations Musk said he wanted to use this giant spaceship to help build a city on Mars, send tourists around the Moon and even for super-fast transcontinental flights.
The photos of the buildings show the fins just attached to the bottom. The three Raptor engines have already been installed and the upper half of the prototype will probably be added on Wednesday. Responding to the user on Twitter, he also described the rocket as ” a strange combination of Dragon, F9 and a parachutist “, referring to the SpaceX Dragon spaceship and its Falcon 9 rocket.
When it is finally assembled, Mk.1 will star in suborbital flight tests, then return to Earth: this will take place in Boca Chica with the full-scale prototype probably on October 13, 2019, which will reach an altitude of 20 kilometers.
The development of Starship was particularly rapid because each test is only a small step necessary in the long road to Mars, which Musk said he would like to reach in 2022. By analyzing the photographs, it is possible to estimate that they are using four Tesla battery packs. In total, these batteries provide up to 400 kWh of power.
The synergy applied in the development of ‘Starship‘ is not a debut in Elon Musk’s companies. Tesla vehicles have already resorted to technologies developed by SpaceX, and it is rumored that the Tesla Roadster will be next. The Starship MK1, according to the US billionaire, is already at an advanced stage of development. In this sense, Elon Musk will hold a presentation next Saturday to talk about the design of this spaceship.