Putting humans in the picture gives us a better idea of just how big the Starship orbital prototype will be. SpaceX founder Elon Musk shared this behind-the-scenes look at workers in Texas with Starship on a transporter in September 2019.
SpaceX’s path to Mars so far has been marked by fits and starts, but founder Elon Musk says the next flight of his big rocket prototype could be just days away.
Musk said on Twitter Tuesday that SN5, the latest iteration of the Starship developmental craft, “will attempt to fly later this week.”
Will attempt to fly later this week
Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 21, 2020
Of course, it won’t get anywhere near Mars, or even space. The first flight of SN5 is expected to be a 150-meter (492 foot) “hop.”
You might recall that an earlier test craft called “Starhopper” successfully performed such a flight last year.
But SN5 is a much larger vehicle that is designed to be capable of an orbital flight.
It has been a struggle to get the SN series of prototypes off the ground. So far, SN4 exploded after a static fire test, SN3 crumpled during a pressure test and SN1 suffered a similar fate in February.
This, of course, is why you test. SpaceX suffered a similar string of failures before Falcon 9 launches and landings became a routine thing.
And so the company is pressing forward with Starship. Road closures are in place this week near the SpaceX development facility in Boca Chica, Texas, in preparation for the static fire testing of SN5.
If that goes well, it’s possible that we could see the big silver rocket fly sometime soon. Of course, we’ve heard this all before. Fingers crossed.