SpaceX could send its Starship into orbit as early as August

SpaceX could send its Starship into orbit as early as August
SpaceX could send its Starship into orbit as early as August

The next SpaceX 160ft Starship prototype, known as SN20, will be launched into orbit as early as next month strapped to the massive Super Heavy booster.

Starship requires the booster stage to reach orbit and combined the two reach a whopping 394ft tall, much larger than the Statue of Liberty with its full plinth.

SN20 will launch for low Earth orbit once construction has finished of the orbital launch tower at the SpaceX Boca Chica facility in Texas later this month.

According to a filing with the FCC, the prototype will launch from Texas and make a 'soft ocean landing' off the coast of Hawaii after 90 minutes in orbit. 

The Elon Musk-owned space firm hasn't confirmed when they will launch the prototype, but experts predict it could be as soon as early August.

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Once the booster gets Starship into orbit it will come back to Earth making a landing in the Gulf of Mexico about 20 miles from shore, ready to fly again in future.

SpaceX has completed a number of tests on the 160ft Starship upper stage, with the most recent, SN15, landing on the launch pad after a short high-altitude flight, but this will be the first test of the full Starship system, including the booster stage.

The fully re-usable Starship rocket will be able to carry a payload of more than 220,000lb into low Earth orbit, and even send humans to Mars in future.

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Starship requires the booster stage to reach orbit and combined the two reach a whopping 394ft tall, larger than the Statue of Liberty and its full plinth

Starship requires the booster stage to reach orbit and combined the two reach a whopping 394ft tall, larger than the Statue of Liberty and its full plinth

The Super Heavy booster is required to give the 160ft Starship the lift necessary to get into orbit, once it performs its service it will come back to Earth making a landing in the Gulf of Mexico about 20 miles from shore

The Super Heavy booster is required to give the 160ft Starship the lift necessary to get into orbit, once it performs its service it will come back to Earth making a landing in the Gulf of Mexico about 20 miles from shore

STARSHIP AND SUPER HEAVY LAUNCHER 

SpaceX Starship is made up of two stages, the Super Heavy booster and the Starship vehicle on top.

Super Heavy fires and gives Starship the boost it needs to reach orbit.

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Once in space, Starship separates and continues its journey, while Super Heavy returns to land on the ground.

It is designed to be a reusable launch vehicle that could put humans on Mars, according to founder Elon Musk.

Super Heavy 

The first stage, or booster, of the next-generation launch system with a gross liftoff mass of over three million kg.

It uses sub-cooled liquid methane and liquid oxygen (CH4/LOX) propellants. 

The booster will return to land at the launch site on its six legs. 

Height: 70m (230ft) 

Diameter: 9m (30ft) 

Starship

Starship is the fully reusable spacecraft and second stage of the Starship system. 

It offers an integrated payload section and is capable of carrying passengers and cargo to Earth orbit, planetary destinations, and between destinations on Earth. 

Height: 50m (160ft)

Diameter 9m (30ft) 

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According to SpaceX, Starship is both the Super Heavy and the upper stage combined, with the upper stage the only portion so far tested by the firm. 

The Super Heavy Booster BN4 prototype is currently being built and when finished it will be moved to the launch pad where a massive orbital launch tower is currently under construction.

The seventh section of the tower was lifted into place last week, and final construction is due for completion by the end of the month. 

Musk shared photos of the earlier BN3 prototype on July 1, showing the mammoth booster

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