2019 began with Elon Musk tweeting a visual of Starship, SpaceX’s next rocket, providing a glimpse of the spaceship that will make Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa the world’s first space tourist in 2023.
Photo credits: JD Lasica/Flickr
Humorously known as ‘Big Fucking Rocket’ (BFR), the Starship project is now in the first stages of development, according to SpaceX. As usual, Musk chose Twitter to announce the news on 5 January. “Starship test vehicle under assembly will look similar to this illustration when finished. Operational Starships would obv have windows, etc,” tweeted the SpaceX CEO. The visual shows a gleaming silver rocket adorned with the USA flag and standing tall against a blue sky. Along with the Super Heavy rocket, Starship will eventually replace Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy, as reported by Numerama.
First orbital flights by 2020
Musk tweeted a photo of the next-generation rocket’s newly completed main section in April 2018, while SpaceX released a series of visuals showing the future BFR completing a space flight last September.
Starship test vehicle under assembly will look similar to this illustration when finished. Operational Starships would obv have windows, etc. pic.twitter.com/D8AJ01mjyR— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 5, 2019
The first orbital flights are scheduled to take place in 2020, as reported by TechCrunch, followed by the inaugural tourist space flight in 2023, when Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa will lift off in SpaceX along with a group of celebrities whose identity has yet to be revealed.
Starship, Super Heavy and a $5bn price tag
In replacing Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy, Starship will team up with the Super Heavy booster rocket.
SpaceX will invest nearly $5bn in the development of the spaceship, which will embark on testing this coming March.
Cover photo credits: SpaceX
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