SpaceX on Tuesday successfully completed a less than a minute flight of the largest prototype of the future Starship rocket ever tested, which the company plans to use one day to colonize Mars.
“Mars looks real,” SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted in response to a fan.
The current Starship prototype is pretty rough: it’s a large metal cylinder that SpaceX teams built in Boca Chica on the Texas coast in a few weeks – but still smaller than the actual rocket.
Several previous prototypes exploded during ground tests during a trial and error learning process.
Spaceship flies pic.twitter.com/IWvwcA05hl
̵1; SpaceX (@SpaceX) August 5, 2020
In images shared by several space specialists on Tuesday, including space news website NASASpaceFlight.com, the latest prototype – called the SN5 – reached an undetermined height before landing in a cloud of dust to demonstrate good trajectory control.
“And when the smoke cleared, she stood majestically after the 150-meter flight!” tweeted the best NASA scientist, Thomas Zurbuchen.
The so-called “hop test” should reach a height of 150 meters, but SpaceX has not confirmed any details about the test flight.
In 2019, an earlier prototype – the smaller Starhopper – flew to a height of 150 meters and returned to land.
The spaceship planned by Musk will be 120 meters high and can land vertically on Mars.
“We will go to the moon, we will have a base on the moon, we will send people to Mars, and we will make life multi-planetary,” Musk said on Sunday after welcoming two NASA astronauts back from the International Space Station.
The astronauts had traveled in the dragon capsule developed by SpaceX.
© Agence France-Presse