Home Science Photos: SpaceX's first full-size Starship prototype – Spaceflight Now

Photos: SpaceX's first full-size Starship prototype – Spaceflight Now

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SpaceX’s first full-size stainless steel Starship test vehicle stands some 164 feet (50 meters) tall and measures wider than the cabin of a Boeing 747 jumbo jet. If Elon Musk has his way, it will fly to an altitude of 65,000 feet (20 kilometers) before the end of the year.

These photos taken Saturday show the Starship shining in the Texas sun before Elon Musk took the stage at Boca Chica, Texas, to present an update on SpaceX’s plans for a gigantic next-generation rocket and spacecraft designed to carry cargo and crews to Earth orbit, the moon, Mars and other destinations in the solar system.

The vehicle measures 30 feet (9 meters) wide, and features movable fins and canards to provide aerodynamic stability in flight. Not visible in these images are three methane-fueled Raptor engines, which sit inside an aft skirt and can generate more than 1.3 million pounds of collective thrust at full throttle.

Future Starship vehicles will have six Raptor engines, and will be mounted atop SpaceX’s Super Heavy booster for missions into Earth orbit and beyond. The entire stack will stand around 387 feet (118 meters) tall.

Up to 37 Raptor engines will power the Super Heavy booster, producing more than 16 million pounds of thrust at liftoff, according to SpaceX.

The Starship and Super Heavy will be fully reusable, SpaceX says, and capable of vertical takeoffs and landings.

Read our full story for the latest details revealed Saturday by SpaceX founder Elon Musk.

SpaceX assembled the Starship Mk. 1 test vehicle at Boca Chica, Texas, in less than six months. Credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Isis Valencia/Spaceflight Now
SpaceX’s Starship Mk. 1 vehicle stands at the company’s South Texas test site. During a presentation by Elon Musk on Saturday night, SpaceX displayed a model of a Falcon 1 rocket, the company’s first orbital-class launch vehicle. Credit: Isis Valencia/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Isis Valencia/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Isis Valencia/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Isis Valencia/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Isis Valencia/Spaceflight Now

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.

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