SpaceX Starship shock: Elon Musk teases another Starship rocket redesign is coming

’s Starship has undergone at least two radical facelifts since last year, transforming from a black and white spacecraft to a sleek stainless steel rocket. In December 2018, the SpaceX boss teased the completed Starship “will look like liquid silver” when in flight. Then, in January 2019, Elon Musk, 48, shared a photo of the silvery test rocket assembled at the company’s Texas base of operations in Boca Chica. Now, Mr Musk has once again teased another update to the Starship design will com around mid-August.

The South African billionaire tweeted on Sunday, July 28: “Now that Hopper has flown, Starship update probably in two weeks or so.”

The “Hopper test” in question was the successful engine test of a single-engined Starship prototype known as Starhopper.

On July 26, the Starhopper flew up by 65.6ft (20m) and to the side before touching down on the ground.

The test flight was the first in a series of untethered engine “hops” before the Starship prototype can properly fly into space.


The Starship design was first unveiled to the world in 2016 at the annual International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Mexico.

At the time, the interplanetary vehicle was still known as a 100-passenger spacecraft dubbed the Mars Colonial Transporter.

The following year, at the same conference held in Australia, the SpaceX CEO unveiled his plans to build the Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) of which the Big Falcon Spaceship would be the upper stage.

The 2017 design incorporated the upper stage for manned spaceflight and a powerful lower booster stage to escape Earth’s gravity.


By the end of 2018, the two-stage BFR was further updated to a Falcon Heavy booster stage and the Big Falcon Spaceship was renamed Starship.

Announcing the change on Twitter, Mr Musk said: “Renaming BFR to Starship.

"Technically, two parts: Starship is the spaceship/upper stage and Super Heavy is the rocket booster needed to escape Earth’s deep gravity well – not needed for other planets or moons.”

The 2018 Starship design features a three fin rocket in black and white mounted on a booster stage with 35 SpaceX Raptor engines.

The rocket measured approximately 180ft (55m) in height with two actuated fins at the front.


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