Elon Musk shows off Starship prototype coming together in its oversize garage

SpaceX is putting together a rocket it hopes will fly high soon and get the company one step closer to Mars.

Eric Mack
Eric Mack Contributing Editor
Contributing editor Eric Mack covers space, science, climate change and all things futuristic. His encrypted email for tips is ericcmack@protonmail.com.

SpaceX assembled the shiny pieces of its planned Starship orbital prototype in late 2019. This wasn't a launch-ready version, but it showed what the spacecraft might look like when it's finally ready for testing.

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SpaceX delayed a launch due to travel restrictions brought on by the coronavirus pandemic and has seen at least one of its California-based employees come down with COVID-19, but work on the company's big moon and Mars rocket is still proceeding in Texas. 

Early Thursday, founder and CEO Elon Musk tweeted a few images from the SpaceX development facility in Boca Chica. They show SpaceX's third Starship prototype, labeled 'SN3,' receiving its crown inside the site's vehicle assembly building, which is basically a very tall spaceship garage. 

You may recall that SN1 exploded during a pressure test last month. That didn't seem to slow down the company much, as the tank for its successor, SN2, passed its own pressure test less than two weeks later, on March 8.

Now, with SN3 coming together, SpaceX will have a backup to its SN2 backup (which seems to have become its primary test prototype for the moment).

Musk has said the test model represented by all three prototypes is designed to fly to an altitude of around 12.4 miles (20 kilometers) and land back on Earth. Ultimately, the aim is to create a next-generation spacecraft capable of transporting humans to the moon, Mars and perhaps even further.

Elon Musk shows off the shiny SpaceX Starship

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