Known for its successful Falcon series of reusable rockets, SpaceX recently unveiled its new heavy-lift vehicle known as Starship. The silvery rocket’s Mk1 prototype passed a critical pressure test on November 18, 2019, at the company’s Boca Chica, Texas, facility.
The stainless steel rocket is 165 feet tall and will lift some 1,000 metric tons into orbit. It is being developed alongside a bigger booster called the Super Heavy. Both launchers can be quickly refurbished for later flights.
Starship’s large payload will enable it to send humans to the moon, Mars, and eventually the outer planets of the Solar System. Uncrewed versions will be able to transport equipment to Earth orbit and the moon.
An ambitious testing schedule includes another first test launch (intended to reach an altitude of 12 miles) within months of the November test. Starship could be launching satellites as early as 2021, and could power a crewed mission around the moon in 2023.