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SpaceX prepares the prototype spacecraft Starship Hopper for the first test

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By Denise Chow

SpaceX prepares to test a prototype slender stainless steel The spaceship the company is developing to transport passengers on their way to Mars ,

The prototype, a small version of the 1

00-passenger Starship currently under development, may soon undergo a first test . SpaceX boss Elon Musk tweeted on March 17 . It is expected that the unmanned vehicle, called the Starship Hopper, will make short "jumps" during the test and, according to Musk, "barely lift".

SpaceX boss Elon Musk shared this photo of the Starship test rocket on Twitter with January 10, 2019. Elon Musk / SpaceX about AFP – Getty Images file

Neither Musk nor the company have an appointment for the Test to be performed at the company's launch facility near Brownsville, Texas. A district judge told the Brownsville Herald on March 21 that he had signed an order to close down nearby roads for two consecutive days so SpaceX could refuel the spacecraft and "test" the tank.

Views of the rocket and launch pad are streamed live by SPadre.com, a place that promotes tourism in South Padre Island, a resort separate from the launch facility by a narrow waterway.

SpaceX intends to use the spaceship as a reusable interplanetary transport system This will start on a giant new booster called Super Heavy.

Musk wants to use the 100-passenger Starship ship to colonize Mars to avoid extinction if the planet becomes uninhabitable as a result of climate change or another catastrophe. Earlier this year, he said the vehicle could fly to the Red Planet in the 2020s.

The spaceship could also be used for lunar missions. In September 2018, SpaceX announced that it would bring Yusaku Maezawa around the Moon and back, making the Japanese billionaire the first private passenger to embark on the journey. This flight is scheduled for 2023.

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