The event is planned for Saturday September 28, and will show the world the break-neck speed at which SpaceX has been developing humanities hope for conquering the solar system and beyond. The reusable rocket project has taken a huge step forward and according to recent filings with the FAA (The Federal Aviation Administration) a test of Starship will take place at Boca Chica and will consist of an “experimental launch, landing, and recovery of the Starship suborbital test vehicle from Boca Chica TX”. Mr Musk tweeted a tantalising image of Starship being prepared on its Boca Chica, Texas launchpad.
He tweeted: “Adding the rear moving fins to Starship Mk1 in Boca Chica, Texas.”
Musk explained how the company is working relentlessly to get the spacecraft as close to a finished product as possible.
In the last 48 hours, this burst of effort was marked by the installation of two of Starship Mk1’s actuating fins, or wings,
These images reveal a definite departure from the design Musk and SpaceX revealed almost exactly a year ago.
Space X Starship
Adding to this SpaceX photographer Austin Barnard reported the developments on twitter, he said: “StarShip looks absolutely gorgeous.
“The future is in our hands and thank you for helping bring it.”
The system is designed to be fully reusable, with both Super Heavy and Starship capable of landing on their own propulsion.
During last year’s presentation, Musk announced that Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa had purchased a flight to send Maezawa and several artists around the Moon.
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While the news caught the attention of many, the launch vehicle was still in the very early phases of development.
A prototype carbon fibre tank barrel and a few sub-scale Raptor engines were all that SpaceX had to show for physical hardware.
Once assembled, the Starship Mk.1 and Mk.2 will conduct free-flight testing that will see both prototypes reach suborbital altitudes and then return to Earth under their own power.
As Musk previously indicated, he hopes that the Starship will also be able to conduct an un-crewed lunar mission in 202.
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This will be followed by a crewed mission a year or two later.
If successful, SpaceX will have sent people to the lunar surface a year before NASA, which is currently planning on sending astronauts back to the Moon by 2024, as part of Project Artemis.
SpaceX’s long-term goal of the Starship is to make regular trips to Mars a reality, which Musk has said will lead to the creation of a base called Mars Base Alpha.
The billionaire has said that he hopes to land humans on Mars to begin Mars Base Alpha as early as 2028.
This would realise the purpose for which SpaceX was founded back in 2002, which was to reduce the cost of space launches, reinvigorate interest in space exploration, and enable the colonisation of Mars.
With hover tests of the base of Starship now complete, the public is eagerly awaiting the completion of the full-scale prototypes and for orbital testing to begin.
The latest images of Starship show the orbital-class test vehicles being assembled at the company’s facilities in Boca Chica, Texas, and Cape Canaveral, Florida.
In one image tweeted by Mr Musk gave it the caption a Star Wars reference saying, “Droid Junkyard, Tatooine”.
In the image is the stainless steel Starship standing tall amid construction equipment and material in the dusty Texas evening twilight.