It looks like SpaceX's shiny new prototype of SpaceX has entered the test phase.
The full-size Starship Mk1 vehicle was "breathing" during an apparent pressure test yesterday evening (November 18) at SpaceX's facilities near Boca Chica Village in South Texas.
The cornerstone was shot and posted on Twitter by @SpacePadreIsle which closely follows the activity of Boca Chica's website. Another Starship observer, @bocachicagal also received good shots from the pressure test. She is a member of the NASASpaceflight site, which shared her video on YouTube .
Related: Starship and the super heavy rocket in photos
SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk unveiled stainless steel Mk1 at the end of September during its annual update to Starship, the Deep Space Transportation System of the company. The architecture consists of a 165-meter-tall (50-meter) spacecraft called Starship and a huge rocket known as the Super Heavy.
Both vehicles will be reusable many times, Musk emphasized, helping to reduce space flight costs and enabling ambitious exploration ventures. SpaceX predicts The Star Ship helps humanity colonize the Moon and Mars and perhaps travel even farther to the icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn.
A star ship will also fly without retreated missions – for example launching satellites in Earth orbit and transferring scientific facilities to the moon. In fact, NASA announced yesterday that SpaceX is already eligible for the lunar supply contract using Starship and Super Heavy.
The main stages of testing can begin come fast and furious now for the Mk1, During the September launch, Musk said that the newly assembled prototype would perform non-stretched test flights to an altitude of about 12 miles (20 kilometers) may start in the next few months.
And similar activities may soon take place on the Atlantic coast. SpaceX is building a full-star Starship prototype called the Mk2 at its Florida Space Coast facilities, motivating that some in-house competition will enhance Starship's final design.
This latest, operational version could launch satellites into orbit on Earth as early as 2021, SpaceX officials said. And during a NASA teleconference yesterday, the company's president and chief operating officer, Gwin Shotwell, said SpaceX aims to prepare Starship for its first retired moon mission by 2022 .
The company is aiming for a team mission for next year: Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has booked a star-studded trip around the moon, with lifts currently scheduled for 2023.
Mk1 and Mk2 will not be the first Star Prototypes for getting off the ground. A short, stubborn single-engine version called Starhopper made several short stretched flights to South Texas before retiring at the end of August. (The Mk1 and Mk2 have three engines, at least initially, while the ultimate Starship will have six, Musk said.)
Mike Wall's book on the search for extraterrestrial life, " There ]" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate ), now out. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall . Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook .