Skip to main content

SpaceX’s Starship rocket flight will look something like this

SpaceX Starship Full Flight Animation.

Two SpaceX enthusiasts have created a computer animation (above) that imagines how a launch and landing of the mighty Starship rocket will look.

The effort paid off, too, with co-creators @ErcXspace and @smvllstvrs receiving a personal tweet from SpaceX chief Elon Musk, who said the depiction was “very close to [the] actual expected flight.”

Before such a space mission can take place, SpaceX still has much testing and prep work to do on its Starship rocket system, which comprises the first-stage Super Heavy rocket and second-stage Starship spacecraft (collectively known as Starship).

The Super Heavy rocket will be powered by 31 Raptor engines. Once in space, Starship will use six Raptor engines for travel between different locations, with the ability to return to Earth or land on another planet.

Starship spacecraft test flight

The company is currently planning the first high-altitude test flight of its next-generation spacecraft, with Musk promising to livestream the entire mission when it takes place later this month — provided a series of static-fire engine tests go according to plan this week, that is.

The launch won’t look the same as the animation as it is only a prototype of the Starship spacecraft that will be tested, not the Super Heavy rocket that will carry it on full-fledged missions to space once the reusable rocket system has been fully developed.

The SN8, as the current Starship prototype is called, is garnering much attention as it’ll bear the closest resemblance yet to the actual Starship design, with body flaps and a nose cone. It’ll also be making its highest climb into the sky yet, possibly to an altitude of 60,000 feet (about 18,000 meters), before SpaceX attempts to bring it back to Earth and land it upright in the same way as it’s been doing with its first-stage Falcon 9 boosters. Up to now, previous Starship prototypes have only taken short “hops” (with mixed results) that sent the rocket no more than a few hundred meters into the sky before descending for a controlled landing.

Musk is well aware that this month’s more ambitious test flight could go very wrong, tweeting at the weekend that it “might be quite a short livestream,” though he promised that whatever happens, his team will definitely broadcast the entire mission, “warts and all.”

Once it’s fully built and tested, the Starship spacecraft and Super Heavy rocket will be a fully reusable space transportation system capable of carrying as many as 100 people and cargo to Earth orbit, the moon, Mars, and possibly beyond.

Musk said recently that if testing goes to plan, an uncrewed Starship mission to Mars could take place in 2024.

In the meantime, be sure to check back for more information on how to watch this month’s livestream of the most ambitious Starship test to date.

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
SpaceX’s Starship launch sparked a fire in a Texas state park
SpaceX's Starship launching from Boca Chica, Texas, in April 2023.

SpaceX successfully launched the most powerful rocket ever developed on Thursday, April 20, but just a few minutes after clearing the pad in Boca Chica, Texas, the 120-meter-tall Starship vehicle tumbled out of control and exploded in midair.

Despite the fiery end, the commercial spaceflight company led by Elon Musk described the maiden test mission as a success, giving the team plenty of data to work with so that it can improve the rocket’s design before attempting a complete flight that would see the upper stage of the vehicle reach orbit for the first time.

Read more
Will SpaceX’s failed Starship flight impact NASA’s moon plan?
Artist concept of the SpaceX Starship on the surface of the Moon.

SpaceX’s Starship vehicle suffered what the spaceflight company called a “rapid unscheduled disassembly” on Thursday. In other words, it blew up.

The good news is that the uncrewed rocket cleared the pad and flew for around four minutes before meeting its fiery end. It means the SpaceX team will have plenty of valuable data on the rocket's flight performance, enabling it to refine the rocket’s systems to give it an improved chance of completing the second test flight and sending the Starship to orbit.

Read more
SpaceX Starship rocket launches in first test flight, but explodes in midair
spacex starship launch explosion

SpaceX has launched its integrated Starship for the first time, with the spacecraft and rocket leaving the launchpad on a test flight. However, not everything went smoothly during the test, as the rocket exploded before the separation of the Starship spacecraft from the Super Heavy rocket booster.

The launch from SpaceX's Starbase facility at Boca Chica in Texas saw the Starship leave the launch pad at 9:33 a.m. ET, consisting of the integrated Starship spacecraft and the Super Heavy Booster, which form the world's most powerful rocket. The combined Starship will be used for future missions to the moon and beyond, launched from a launch-and-catch tower standing at an impressive height of nearly 500 feet tall.

Read more