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SpaceX Starship shines in Texas

SpaceX's plans to leave Earth's orbit start with this shiny creation. Starship is the next-gen spaceship that could one day deploy satellites, carry artists around the moon and even touch down on Mars. 

SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted this look at a stainless-steel Starship prototype in Texas on Jan. 10. This one isn't intended for orbital duty, but it will be used as a "hopper" to test takeoffs and landings. 

"Starship will look like liquid silver," Musk tweeted in late 2018. He said SpaceX hopes to have an orbital prototype ready by the middle of 2019. 

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spacexbfrrender

This dramatic rendering shows Starship, which was known as BFR (Big Falcon Rocket) at the time this image was released in September 2018, blasting away from a cloudy Earth. SpaceX says the ship and rocket are designed to be fully reusable and will be able to service Earth orbit as well as the moon and Mars.

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Starship as a render

Elon Musk's photo of the actual Starship prototype looks very close to this rendered version he shared in a tweet on Jan. 5. The rendering shows a smoother skin, which highlights the retro sci-fi look of the design.

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BFR launching

SpaceX's next-generation spaceship system was once set to launch with a BFR powering it into space. This artist's illustration shows a launch underway.

Elon Musk announced the new Starship name in November 2018. Technically, Starship is the upper stage that will carry cargo or people, while the rocket booster used to launch it is called Super Heavy. 

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Starship suffers wind damage

SpaceX watcher Maria Pointer captured this image of the bottom section of the Starship hopper prototype after a violent Texas windstorm in January knocked the nose cone off onto the ground. Musk said it would take several weeks to repair the prototype. 

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Starship prototype in pieces

Prior to unveiling the assembled Starship hopper prototype, Elon Musk teased the spaceship with this image shared on Twitter on Dec. 24, 2018. The vehicles in the photo help to give an idea of the scale of the massive ship. 

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Musk and Maezawa

Elon Musk gave Japanese billionaire entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa a lift prior to a Sept. 17, 2018 press conference announcing the #dearMoon project to send a group of artists around our lunar neighbor in 2023. If all goes as planned, Starship will ferry Maezawa and a selection of six to eight artists on the ambitious private lunar mission. Maezawa purchased all of the available seats for the flight.

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SpaceX moon illustration

SpaceX released this dramatic illustration of its Starship/BFR spacecraft posing with the moon in anticipation of one day sending a private tourism mission around the Earth's only natural satellite. Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has already signed on to buy all the seats on SpaceX's planned moon trip in 2023.

These early concept images show a BFR that looks much more like a NASA space shuttle than the current shiny, stainless-steel Starship design.

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SpaceX lunar base

SpaceX is looking pretty far into the future when it comes to Starship. This artistic image shows what a SpaceX lunar base might look like. That's Earth glowing in the distance.

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Starship Mars base

This futuristic rendering shows a collection of Starships hanging out on the surface of Mars. Elon Musk and SpaceX envision astronauts initially living out of the spaceships while constructing a more permanent human settlement on the Red Planet.

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Starship docking in orbit

SpaceX sees Starship as a multi-purpose vehicle that's not just for long-distance journeys around the moon or to Mars. It's also intended for orbital missions, such as docking at the space station or delivering satellites into space. This illustration shows the spaceship docked in orbit.

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