Starship SN11 could fly from Boca Chica, Texas, just two weeks after SN10’s flight test
Starship SN11 could fly from Boca Chica, Texas, just two weeks after SN10’s flight test

Elon Musk says Starship SN11 ‘almost ready to fly’

SpaceX plans orbital Starship flight ‘by July’ and trips to the moon as early as 2023

Anthony Cuthbertson@ADCuthbertson
Wednesday 17 March 2021 12:14
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SpaceX boss Elon Musk has said the next major flight test of the Mars-bound Starship craft is imminent.

Starship SN11 is already on the launchpad at SpaceX’s Boca Chica facility in Texas, just two weeks after the previous SN10 prototype performed its own high-altitude test.

SpaceX does not typically announce Starship tests until a few minutes before they take place, citing the numerous variables that need to line up in order for it to go ahead.

These include hardware preparations, weather, regulatory approval and local road closures.

Cameron County is yet to issue any public notices for temporary closures of State Highway 4 and Boca Chica Beach, which need to be cleared for safety reasons.

Posting on Twitter on Tuesday, Mr Musk wrote that Starship SN11 is “almost ready to fly”, while also confirming that SpaceX is preparing the first ever orbital launch of the next-generation spacecraft by July.

The hugely ambitious testing schedule of Starship comes after Mr Musk ordered SpaceX employees to prioritise its development over all other projects.

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The technology billionaire hopes to welcome the first commercial passengers onboard for a trip around the moon in 2023, while crewed missions to Mars could take place as early as 2024.

SpaceX plans to build up to 100 Starships every year, with each one capable of flying three times per day while carrying up to 100 people.

The eventual goal is to establish a permanent human colony on Mars, which Mr Musk claims is essential to ensuring humanity’s future survival.

Following the Starship SN10 flight test, which ended in a fiery explosion, SpaceX said the craft’s development was progressing well, despite the rapid unscheduled disassembly.

“These test flights are all about improving our understanding and development of a fully reusable transportation system designed to carry both crew and cargo on long-duration interplanetary flights, and help humanity return to the moon, and travel to Mars and beyond,” the company stated.

“Starship will be the world’s most powerful launch vehicle ever developed, with the ability to carry in excess of 100 metric tonnes to Earth orbit.”

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