SpaceX CEO Elon Musk was in Boca Chica, Texas over the weekend to oversee key construction activities in the assembly of the company’s newest Starship prototype. Musk will deliver an update on Starship, which will likely recap progress to date and provide a more detailed road map of SpaceX’s plans for the future of its next-generation spaceship and launch system.
Musk shared photos of the prototype construction in progress, with the so-called “Mk1” prototype getting its rear moving fins, which are located on the bottom half of the rocket and which work together with fins located on the yet-to-be-installed top half of the spacecraft to control its stability during entry and landing.
The Starship Mk1 prototype will be the first to represent the final vehicle in its orbital-class configuration, after a “Starhopper” prototype SpaceX produced initially accomplished the goal of testing one of the new Raptor engines and demonstrating low-altitude flight, control and landing capabilities. That stubbier version of Starship is retired after doing both a short and a longer “hop” test flight over the past two months, and now SpaceX will look to test higher-altitude and longer-duration flights, using multiple Raptor engines, with the Starship Mk1 and Mk2 prototypes currently under development at Boca Chica and in another SpaceX facility in Florida.
Musk has said that Starship Mk1 already has three Raptor engines installed on the vehicle, and the company has filed documents with the FCC required for it to receive permission for the communications components of its first test launches. We should find out more concrete details as of Saturday, and TechCrunch will have all the info here as it happens.