Skip to main content

SpaceX’s Starship could be ready for launch in just a few months

SpaceX’s new Starship rocket. SpaceX

SpaceX’s beautiful and huge Starship could be ready for launch in as little as a few months, according to CEO Elon Musk. The aim is for the Starship to haul large amounts of cargo and to eventually help humanity to colonize Mars.

In tweets by Musk highlighted by, he reveals some more details about SpaceX’s plans for the Starship. He posted a short video of the SpaceX team working on the production of the dome for the Starship’s tank, which he described as the “most difficult part of [the] primary structure.” And a couple of days later, he posted another video of several of the giant domes in various stages of completion.

The attachment of the tank dome seems to have been the part of the Starship that failed when a prototype quite literally blew its top in a ground test last year. SpaceX didn’t reveal exactly what caused the problem during that test, but it could have been due to the welds which hold the dome in place failing under the extreme pressures of the test environment. That failure occurred during the testing of the Mk1 prototype, and the new domes seen in the videos are part of the new version of the test craft, called SN1.

In discussing current plans for the Starship, Musk posted that, “We’re now building flight design of Starship SN1, but each SN will have at least minor improvements, at least through SN20 or so of Starship V1.0.” In terms of specifics, in a later tweet he also discussed how the new prototype will be improved over the previous version which experienced the failure: In terms of welding techniques, “Almost everything is different,” he said. “These parts are stamped vs manually bump-formed and TIP TIG-welded vs flux core. Higher precision, stronger joints & 20% mass reduction.”

Perhaps the most surprising news is of the ambitious timeline for Starship testing. Musk revealed that “Flight is hopefully 2 to 3 months away” for the new Starship SN1, so we could expect to see a Starship take to the air before spring arrives.

This is in addition to SpaceX’s work on its Crew Dragon capsule, which will eventually ferry astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). The Crew Dragon recently aced a parachute test and could be ready for a test flight to the ISS soon. With the Boeing Starliner capsule’s recent failure to reach the ISS, all eyes will be on SpaceX to see if it can achieve this milestone before its competitors.

Editors' Recommendations

Georgina Torbet
Georgina is the Digital Trends space writer, covering human space exploration, planetary science, and cosmology. She…
How to watch SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts launch to ISS
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launching from Cape Canaveral.

NASA and SpaceX are making final preparations for the launch of four astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A. The Crew-4 astronauts were originally supposed to launch on Saturday, April 23, but due to the late departure from the ISS of the Ax-1 mission, the mission won't get underway until Wednesday, April 27, at the earliest.

NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines, and Jessica Watkins, together with Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency, will launch aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft atop a Falcon 9 rocket.

Read more
Check out this cool NASA image of SpaceX Crew-3’s ride home
A SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft docked at the ISS.

A stunning image shared by NASA shows the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endurance spacecraft at the International Space Station (ISS) just a few days before it brings home the Crew-3 astronauts.

Crew Dragon Endurance docked at the International Space Station about 250 miles above Earth. NASA

Read more
NASA footage shows SpaceX Crew-4 training for ISS mission
SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts.

NASA has shared raw footage of SpaceX’s Crew-4 astronauts training for their space station mission that’s set to get underway in just a few days' time.

The 30-minute reel (below) shows NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines, and Jessica Watkins, along with Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency, undergoing a range of training techniques to prepare them for the ride to and from the International Space Station (ISS), as well as their six-month stay aboard the orbiting laboratory.

Read more