After a successful high-altitude flight test earlier this month, SpaceX will perform another orbital test for the upcoming SN16 prototype slated for July.
The Independent claimed that the next-generation rocket is also being tested in Texas, where Elon Musk relocated last year to focus his efforts on the Starship project.
Starship SN15's stunning success last month has raised the possibility of Starship going orbital shortly. Science Times mentioned that the prototype Mars rocket blasted off and landed for the first time, completing a 32,000ft (10km) suborbital flight and landing in one piece on May 5.
Given that Elon Musk and his team have already blown up four prototypes - SN8, SN9, SN10, and SN11 - SpaceX followers were overjoyed to see the Starship finally succeed.
SpaceX To Launch Next Starship By July 1
Documents obtained by Express.co.uk said that SpaceX plans to launch the Starship SN20 and Super Heavy BN3 booster rockets "[to reach] orbit by July 1."
Although nothing is etched in stone just yet, SN16's future appears to be bleak. It wouldn't be the first time a Starship prototype was shelved in favor of more advanced variants.
But there's still hope: Elon Musk shared a behind-the-scenes look at the SN16 and Booster 2, one of the test booster rockets.
Ship 16 & Booster 2, Starbase Highbay pic.twitter.com/IUuidOw9ym— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 28, 2021
In June, the orbital Starship SN16 test will be the first to employ SpaceX's 70-meter-high Super Heavy rocket booster, which will assist in propelling the 50-meter vessel into orbit. The booster stage will separate from Starship about 170 seconds into the 90-minute trip from Boca Chica to Hawaii, which will transport an uncrewed craft.
Super Heavy will land around 20 miles (32 kilometers) from the beach in the Gulf of Mexico. The Starship will next travel into space before returning to land about 62 miles (100 kilometers) off the shore of Kauai, Hawaii. Although the test flight will take off Boca Chica, SpaceX's subsequent orbital missions will take off from the ocean. The combination of Starship and the Super Heavy booster will make it the most powerful launch vehicle ever created, eclipsing Nasa's gigantic Saturn V rocket system, which was used to send humans to the Moon in the 1960s and 1970s. According to SpaceX, future versions of the main Starship spaceship will include "private rooms, vast shared areas, centralized storage, solar storm shelters, and a viewing gallery," with each one carrying up to 100 people. Mr. Musk has already stated his desire to travel to Mars in a Starship during his lifetime.
SpaceX to Launch Mars-Bound Starship From 'Ocean Spaceport' Next Year
The business has been buying abandoned oil rigs intending to convert them into Starship orbital launch platforms, Science Times reported. By launching rockets into the middle of the ocean, any possible public health and safety threats will be considerably reduced. In other words, if a launch fails, the rocket is unlikely to drop on anyone's house. Elon Musk recently said on Twitter: "Ocean spaceport Deimos is under construction for launch next year."
Ocean spaceport Deimos is under construction for launch next year https://t.co/WJQka399c7— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 30, 2021
Mr. Musk also envisions Starships ferrying humans to the Moon, Mars, and even beyond regularly.
NASA, the United States' space agency, has already given SpaceX a $3 billion contract to send men to the Moon.
Check out more news and information on SpaceX on Science Times.