Welcome to the Starship orbital prototype. SpaceX founder Elon Musk will be your personal tour guide today. You'll be getting a nice glimpse inside the big new spacecraft that encapsulates Musk's ambitions to get people to Mars someday.
"Inside Starship cargo bay," Musk tweeted Tuesday, to accompany a video of the Starship. "Header tanks mounted in tip of nosecone to offset engine weight at rear."
Musk addressed the purpose of those spherical tanks in a Reddit Q&A in 2016, saying they contain the landing propellant and that they're separated for greater insulation.
Up to this point, we've been mostly staring at the ship's shiny exterior. Then on Saturday, Musk hyped up the stainless-steel spacecraft at SpaceX's Boca Chica, Texas, facility, saying this latest version of the vehicle. The interior video gives us a good sense of the massive scale of the prototype.
Starship is SpaceX's next-generation spacecraft that's designed to carry humans and cargo to Earth orbit, the moon and eventually Mars. A previouspulled off some short jumps in recent months. This new Starship is meant to go much, much higher.
Starship concept images showed a smooth stainless-steel skin, but the welding seams are prominent on this one. "Production version will be a lot more polished than this prototype, but still fun to see," Musk tweeted Tuesday.
Musk's ambitious timeline to reach orbit may not play out as he hopes. Major space projects have a knack for hitting delays, but seeing this shiny beast take to the air will be worth the wait.