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SpaceX's Next Spacecraft Prototype Taking Shape (Photos)



SpaceX's next Starship prototype will no longer be just a concept car.

Construction of the test vehicle is progressing rapidly, with two new company founder and CEO photos released today (September 17) on Twitter. Revealing Elon Musk .

One of the pictures shows the vehicle – apparently Starship Mk1 assembled at the SpaceX plant in South Texas near the village of Boca Chica – in the background behind a building with a variety of parts and others equipment. (SpaceX is currently building a similar prototype called Starship Mk2 at the company's Florida plants, on the grounds that a small rivalry within the company will improve the final design of the vehicle.)

Related: SpaceXs Starship and Super Heavy Mars Rocket in Pictures

"Droid Junkyard, Tatooine, " Musk said via Twitter Planet in the" Star Wars "Movies.

The other photo is a close-up of an annular section that is lowered onto the body of the Mk1. The billionaire entrepreneur also had for this one funny title: "Area 51 of Area 51".

The Mk1 and Mk2 follow in the footsteps of SpaceX's Starhopper vehicle, following a major test flight last month was retired. However, the new vehicles are far more ambitious and efficient. While Starhopper had only a single Raptor engine and was only a few feet from the ground, the Mk1 and Mk2 are powered by at least three raptors and will be much higher.

SpaceX is aiming for a test flight that is 20 kilometers in October, followed by a round trip "shortly thereafter", Musk said late last month .

All these steps lead to the final spaceship planned by SpaceX Mars-colonizing ship. This spaceship will carry 100 passengers and launch on a huge rocket called Super Heavy. According to Musk, both elements, rocket and spaceship, will be fully and quickly reusable.

The final spacecraft will carry six raptors, as planned, while the Super Heavy is powered by 35 engines. However, these numbers could change; Musk is expected to release a Starship design update from South Texas on September 28th.

The Mk1 should be fully assembled at this time.

The Mk1 and Mk2 test campaigns will not be awkward if SpaceX scheduled schedules apply. Company officials said Starship's first operational flights, which are likely to be commercial satellite launches, could begin as early as 2021 (19459004) (19459005). (SpaceX plans to use Starship for all of the company's space requirements, from interplanetary colonization missions to satellite launches and point-to-point voyages around the globe.)

And SpaceX targets 2023 for a manned mission of the vehicle: a Flight around the Moon booked by Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa.

Mike Walls's book on the search for a foreign life, " Out There " (Grand Central Publishing, 2018, illustrated by Karl Tate ), is available now. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall . Follow us on Twitter @SpaceTotcom or Facebook .


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