SpaceX boss Elon Musk reveals new rocket prototype ‘Starship’
The billionaire boss of SpaceX, Elon Musk, has tweeted a picture of the company’s new rocket: Starship.
“Starship test flight rocket just finished assembly at the SpaceX Texas launch site,” Mr Musk posted.
“This is an actual picture, not a rendering,” he said.
This is for suborbital VTOL tests. Orbital version is taller, has thicker skins (won’t wrinkle) & a smoothly curving nose section.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 11, 2019
The silver-looking rocket has very few additional features or frills, aside from a simple American flag on the hull.
Mr Musk was keen to stress that the image wasn’t a rendering because of its similarity to an artist’s impression which he released before.
The current configuration of the Starship Hopper will only complete sub-orbital flights, or “hops”, racing high into the atmosphere before landing back on Earth.
According to Mr Musk, an orbital version will be tested in June – working in conjunction with SpaceX’s new rocket booster called the Super Heavy.
The orbital version is taller than the Hopper, has thicker skins which won’t wrinkle when exposed to the pressure of orbital flight, and also has a smoothly curving nose section.
The images come as SpaceX’s most recent launch, to the International Space Station, concludes as the Dragon capsule returns to Earth.
According to the company, it successfully splashed down early in the morning on 14 January.