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SpaceX's massive spaceship test rocket shines in Boca Chica, Texas

On Saturday evening, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk gave a presentation in Boca Chica, Texas, about the development of his company's next-generation rocket, called Starship. The spaceship is intended to fly hundreds of passengers to distant destinations such as the moon and Mars. Flanked by a gigantic prototype of the vehicle, Musk promised that Starship could fly into orbit within six months from now and could carry its first passengers sometime next year.

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"This thing starts, flies up to 65,000 feet – about 20 kilometers – and comes back in about one to two months," said Musk, referring to the stainless steel prototype behind him. The gigantic test item was next to a SpaceX Falcon 1 rocket, the first vehicle to orbit the company. The staging was symbolic, especially since the presentation took place on the anniversary of the first flight of SpaceX to a job with the Falcon 1.

The test rocket in Boca Chica towers over 50 meters and has three of the SpaceX & Raptor engines attached to the base. The goal is to test the launch and landing capabilities that the final Starship vehicle should be a fully reusable system. The prototype will use its engines to fly at high altitudes and then lower down again, which is called a propulsion landing – the same technique that SpaceX uses to land its currently operational missiles.

SpaceX still has a lot of work to do to make this thing fly so fast. The Starship prototype provides an impressive view of the ground. It becomes even more of a spectacle when it finally goes up in the air.