California entrepreneur Elon Musk unveiled the first test prototype of a giant rocket designed to make regular flights to Mars.
The “Starship” test vehicle unveiled by Musk on Thursday is a smaller prototype of the reusable second stage of the 400-foot-tall Big Falcon Rocket being built by SpaceX in Los Angeles.
The prototype will be used to test takeoffs and landings from a SpaceX facility in Texas.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 11, 2019
The Starshop “hopper,” as Musk refers to it, won’t fly into space, but fly several miles up and then land to test the final design’s launching and landing ability.
“This is for suborbital VTOL tests,” Musk said in a tweet. “Orbital version is taller, has thicker skins (won’t wrinkle) & a smoothly curving nose section.”
The first orbital flight of the Big Falcon Rocket is expected in 2020.
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