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Elon Musk: SpaceX launches the ‘Super Heavy’ rocket booster to power the Mars voyage


This dramatic render shows Starship, known as the BFR at the time this image was published in September 2018, blasting off a cloudy earth. According to SpaceX, the ship and rocket are designed to be fully reusable and capable of serving Earth orbit as well as the Moon and Mars.


The latest prototype from Elon Musk’s Starship prototype has only flown about 500 feet (150 meters) in the air, but the SpaceX CEO said Monday his rocket company could begin building a booster prototype to be paired with Starship as early as this week.

“This is going to be pretty cool,” Musk said in a keynote interview at the Humans To Mars virtual summit.

Starship is SpaceX’s platform for taking people to the moon, Mars and beyond. However, in order to achieve these goals in space, it is planned to combine Starship with a powerful first stage booster called Super Heavy. So far we’ve only seen early Starship prototypes doing short test flights or “hops”.

Look at that:

The SpaceX Starship prototype makes the first jump.


Musk added that Super Heavy may have fewer engines than originally planned – possibly 28 Raptor engines instead of 31.

“That’s still a lot of engines. We will increase the thrust on these engines.”

He figured that Raptor might be able to lift 200 times its own weight.

When a Starship prototype could fly higher than just a jump, Musk said “likely next year” and wanted to lower expectations a bit.

“The first ones may not work,” he said. “This is new territory. Nobody has ever made a fully reusable orbital rocket … and then something twice the size of a Saturn V (the rocket that takes astronauts to the moon) that is also completely reusable … that is really something else profound. This is the gateway to the galaxy or at least the solar system. ”

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