Elon Musk says first high-altitude test of SpaceX's Starship rocket could ...

Elon Musk says first high-altitude test of SpaceX's Starship rocket could happen as soon as Wednesday - but it only has a one-in-three chance of landing safely SpaceX Starship stands 400ft tall including its nosecone and could hold 100 Elon Musk says there is a 'fighting chance' it could fly to Mars as early as 2024 To make that date it has to complete a series of increasingly complicated tests This includes flying up to nine miles into the air and landing back down safely That 'high-altitude test' is expected to take place at some point from tomorrow 

By Ryan Morrison For Mailonline

Published: 15:24 GMT, 1 December 2020 | Updated: 15:24 GMT, 1 December 2020

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SpaceX Starship will fly nine miles into the air later this week according to Elon Musk, who says it has a one in three chance of landing safely. 

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The massive Starship two-stage-to-orbit heavy lift vehicle has been in development since 2012 and is designed to bring the cost of launch down by being reusable.

Musk says the first 'high-altitude test' of the rocket will see it fly nine miles up above the Boca Chica facility in Texas at some point this week - possibly tomorrow. 

To develop a spaceship that can potentially reach the Moon or Mars straight from Earth requires extensive testing including landing back on Earth from a height.

However, Elon Musk tweeted that a 'lot of things need to go right' for it to land back on solid ground after the nine mile trip - giving it a one in three chance of success. 

The massive Starship two-stage-to-orbit heavy lift vehicle has been in development since 2012 and is designed to bring the cost of launch down by being reusable (artist's impression)

The massive Starship two-stage-to-orbit heavy lift vehicle has been in development since 2012 and is designed to bring the cost of launch down by being reusable (artist's impression)

SpaceX is one step closer to launching its Starship SN8 prototype nine miles up after a series of successful static fire tests at its Texas facility

SpaceX is one step closer to launching its Starship SN8 prototype nine miles up after a series of successful static fire tests at its Texas facility

If this latest flight test - that will see the triple Raptor engine fire and lift the 400ft spaceship into the air - is successful, then further, higher tests will likely follow. 

The latest high-altitude test is penciled in for some point between Wednesday and the end of the week, but test times and dates can change at short notice.  

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Nine miles up isn't enough to take it into space - but as all previous 'hops' have been measured in feet rather than miles - it is a significant step forward.

The edge of space is agreed by NASA and others to be 50 miles above sea level but to go into orbit you need to get to at least 100 miles above sea level.

Last week Musk tweeted: 'Good

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