SpaceX CEO Elon Musk says first orbital Starship prototype will be done by June - Teslarati
Teslarati.com - Sat 12 Jan 06:37 GMT

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk says first orbital Starship prototype will be done by June - Teslarati

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk says that the company’s first Starship prototype – a low-fidelity hop test vehicle – has finished assembly in South Texas, paving the way towards a series of experimental vertical take-off or landing (VTOL) hop tests that could begin as e…

  SpaceX CEO Elon Musk says that the company’s first Starship prototype – a low-fidelity hop test vehicle – has finished assembly in South Texas, paving the way towards a series of experimental vertical take-off or landing (VTOL) hop tests that could begin as early as February or March 2019.

  One step beyond the prototype currently rising out of the coastal Texas wetlands, Musk also indicated that the first orbital Starship prototype – essentially the spacecraft’s first full-fidelity test article – could be completed as early as June 2019, a truly extraordinary pace of development for a program as complex and cutting-edge as BFR.

  Musk did seem to indicate that even Starhopper – requiring far less propellant than an orbital Starship – will still feature full 9m (~30 foot) diameter tanks.

  Aside from offering the above photo and comparing Starhopper’s prospects to those of Falcon 9’s Grasshopper and F9R hop test articles (i.e. very suborbital and very short-lived), Musk also stated that the first orbital Starship prototype could be completed as early as June 2019, as few as three months after Starhopper’s first hop test.

  This paints at least a rough picture of the planning going on for BFR’s flight test regime, beginning with a suborbital hop test prototype, moving to a full-fidelity Starship capable of high-speed intra-atmospheric heat shield and aero surface testing, and finally full-up orbital testing with the completion of the first BFR booster (now known as Super Heavy).