SpaceX’s much-heralded Starship reveal on Saturday night was undone somewhat by the fact that it’s hard to maintain secrecy with a 165-foot vehicle.
The Elon Musk-hosted evening presentation in Boca Chica, Texas gave viewers on the ground and watching from home via the livestream an update on the long-in-development spacecraft. The SpaceX Starship is a reusable vehicle capable of carrying both passengers and cargo beyond Earth’s orbit and out into our solar system.
Musk has described it as a “multiplanetary” transport that “will allow us to inhabit other worlds. Nevermind the fact that SpaceX hasn’t actually launched a crewed ship into space at this point, as NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine pointedly made clear in a statement on Friday.
Musk promised during the hour-plus Boca Chica presentation that such a development is coming soon. Starship could take to the skies before the end of winter 2020 – perhaps even before the end of 2019 – and it could do so with passengers aboard by later in the same year.
“This thing is going to take off, fly to 65,000 feet — about 20 kilometers — and come back and land in about one to two months,” Musk said, standing in front of the gleaming Starship prototype that was assembled on the launchpad in the days leading up to the presentation. It’s not quite ready to fly, but it made for an effective prop as Musk hyped the next steps for SpaceX.
Throughout (and after) the presentation, SpaceX stayed active on Twitter, sharing out various tidbits of info on Starship and looks at photos, videos, and mockups. The tweets fill in all the key details for people who want to know all the key points without having to watch the 100-minute presentation.
11 years ago today, we launched our first successful mission. To date, we’ve completed 78 launches and have developed the world’s only operational reusable orbital class rockets and spacecraft—capable of launching to space, returning to Earth, and flying again pic.twitter.com/5L0q9PJ90P
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 29, 2019
(Raptor engines will be used to carry Starship skyward.)
[h/t The Verge]