We won't have to wait much longer for our next update on the SpaceX spacecraft, which the company calls Starship.
SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk has promised to unveil the latest design changes to Starship after a stubborn prototype of a vehicle test flight known as Starhopper completed its first undiscovered hop.
This stage of 1945 happened last week at the SpaceX facility in South Texas in Boca Chica, so the update will come soon – probably by mid-August, Musk said over the weekend.
Related: The SpaceX Star Ship and the Super Heavy Mars Rocket in Photos
"Now that Hopper has taken off, an update on Starship probably in two weeks," the billionaire wrote developer on Twitter [1
Musk first outlined a detailed design of Starship in September 2016, during a talk at the annual International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Mexico (although he had more explicitly discussed the architecture of the Maritime Colonial Transporter on early)). Then the 100-passenger reusable vehicle and the huge booster that would launch it from Earth were collectively called the Interplanetary Transportation System (ITS).
Musk summarized the latest thinking about SpaceX's Mars colonization at the next IAC meeting, which happened in Australia in September 2017. He then told us that ITS had become BFR, short for "Big Falcon Rocket" ". (Technically, the booster is BFR and the spacecraft is BFS, short for "Big Falcon Spaceship." But most people just called the whole BFR system.)
We received another update in September 2018 when Musk told us the duo of the space rocket launcher would stand 387 feet (118 meters) high on launch – about 11% higher than previously estimated. He also revealed, among other things, that the BFS will have two large "actuated" blades near its tail to help the vehicle steer through a planetary atmosphere for safe landing. The landing edge back there will also be styled to look like one of those structures, he added, giving the BFS the three-sided appearance of the rocket flying from the hero of the Tintin comic book in the 1954 book "Explorers of the Moon."
Two months later, Musk announced another name change: BFS was already Starship and BFR was to be called Super Heavy.
As predicted right now, Starship will sport six of SpaceX's next-generation Raptor engines, and Super Heavy will be powered by 35 of them, with slots for two more Raptors if needed. But things can change; we'll have to wait and see what Musk says in the upcoming design update.
SpaceX sees that Starship and Super Heavy ultimately fulfill all of the company's space flight responsibilities, from launching satellites to carrying humans to and from the Moon and Mars until completion. super fast travel around the Earth. As a result, SpaceX plans to eventually discontinue its other space flight hardware – its Falcon 9 rocket launcher, the newer, more powerful Falcon Heavy, and the cargo and crew versions of its Dragon capsule.
SpaceX aims to launch satellites using Starship and Super Heavy as early as 2021 . The first mission to send Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa and a handful of artists to travel around the moon is set for 2023.
Starhopper, which sponsors a single Raptor, has already left Earth three times. In addition to last week's flight, which Musk said targeted an altitude of about 65 feet (20 meters), the vehicle undertook two short test hops in early April, leaving it tethered to safety ground and in both cases.
Mike Wall's book on the search for extraterrestrial life, " There " (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Carl Tate ), is out. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall . Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook .