It looks like SpaceX's shiny new Starship prototype has entered the testing phase.  The Starsked Mk1 "breathed" during an apparent pressure test last night (November 18) at SpaceX facilities near the South Texas village of Boca Chica.
The milestone was captured by @SpacePadreIsle and posted on Twitter, which closely followed activities at the Boca Chica site. Another Starship watcher, @bocachicagal also received good footage of the print test. She is a member of the NASASpaceflight site that released her video on YouTube
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SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk unveiled the stainless steel Mk1 at the end of September during his annual update on Stars hip, the company's deep-space transportation system. The architecture consists of a 50 meter high spaceship called Starship and a huge rocket called Super Heavy.
Both vehicles will be reusable quickly and repeatedly, according to Musk, helping to reduce space costs and enable ambitious reconnaissance efforts. SpaceX Introduces Starship Help humanity to colonize the Moon and Mars, and travel even further into the icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn.
Starship will also fly unmanned missions – such as bringing satellites into orbit and bringing scientific equipment to the Moon. In fact, NASA announced yesterday that SpaceX is now eligible to bid for lunar orders with Starship and Super Heavy.
The test milestones could now begin fast and furious for the Mk1 . During the unveiling in September, Musk announced that the newly assembled prototype will perform unscrewed test flights at a height of approximately 20 kilometers, possibly beginning in the next few months.
Similar activities could soon take place on the Atlantic coast. SpaceX is building a large-scale Starship prototype named Mk2 at its location on Florida's Space Coast, arguing that in-house competition will enhance Starship's final design.
This final operational version could begin with the launch of satellites in orbit by 2021, SpaceX officials said. During yesterday's NASA conference call, Gwynne Shotwell, President and Chief Operating Officer of the company, said SpaceX wanted to have the spacecraft ready for its first lunar mission by 2022 .
The company is targeting a crewed mission for next year: Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has booked an all-moon spacecraft voyage scheduled to begin in 2023.
The Mk1 and the Mk2 will not be the first spaceship prototypes for launch. A short, dull, single-engine version called Starhopper completed a few short flights in South Texas before retiring at the end of August. (The Mk1 and the Mk2 will have at least three engines at the beginning, while the last spaceship will have six, as Musk said.)
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