Elon Musk has revealed images of his assembled Starship hopper test rocket, as the entrepreneur continues to explore ways of one day sending people to places as far as Mars.
The SpaceX founder shared the first real images of the prototype from its Texas launch site, telling Twitter followers it is “not a rendering”.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 11, 2019
“This is for suborbital VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) tests,” Mr Musk explained. “Orbital version is taller, has thicker skins (won’t wrinkle) & a smoothly curving nose section.”
This particular model will be used to test short launches and landings. Earlier this month, the billionaire said SpaceX was aiming to carry out test flights within four weeks, but admitted it could be as long as eight weeks when unforeseen issues are factored in.
Responding to questions from space enthusiasts, Mr Musk said that the first orbital prototype should be ready by June.
In November, the rocket was renamed from Big Falcon Rocket to Starship.
This week marks a busy period for SpaceX, with the company due to launch another batch of satellites into space on its Falcon 9 rocket later on Friday.