SpaceX is constructing another test version of its interplanetary spacecraft Starship in Florida. It will take people to the Moon, Mars and beyond.
The company has already built a scaled-down prototype of that 100-passenger “Starship” craft at its South Texas facility. But SpaceX’s CEO Elon Musk confirmed that they are doing similar work on Florida’s space coast.
“SpaceX is doing simultaneous competing builds of Starship in Boca Chica, Texas, & Cape Canaveral, Florida,” Musk said via Twitter Tuesday (May 14).
“Both sites will make many Starships. This is a competition to see which location is most effective. Answer might be both,” he tweeted that day. “Any insights gained by one team must be shared with the other, but other team not required to use them,” he added in another tweet.
The private agency designed the spaceship, formerly known as Big Falcon Rocket or BFR, to take humans and cargo in the depths beyond low Earth’s orbit. The vehicle will launch atop a powerful reusable rocket called Super Heavy.
You Might Like This: “Top Space Missions of 2019”
The first prototype of Starship, known as a “starhopper,” is currently undergoing tests at SpaceX’s test site in Boca Chica, Texas.
“SpaceX is doing simultaneous competing builds of Starship in Boca Chica, Texas, and Cape Canaveral, Florida,” CEO Elon Musk tweeted.
Seven Raptors will power Starship, and the Super Heavy will incorporate 31 of them. SpaceX has finished building its fourth Raptor, and the fifth is under construction at the company’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California, Musk said in Tuesday’s tweet thread. SpaceX will likely hit the 100-Raptor mark by early 2020, he added.
The rocket booster and spaceship are still years away from flight. Musk estimated the cost of developing the launch vehicle to be between $5 billion and $10 billion.
Last year, a Japanese entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa booked a Starship round trip ticket to the Moon and back. Musk said the paid moon mission could happen as soon as 2023, after several test flights without a crew onboard.