Elon Musk reveals SpaceX 'Starship' prototypeby Justin King
The stainless-steel body is around 30 feet in diameter, big enough to carry a crew of astronauts.
Elon Musk has revealed SpaceX's new 'Starship,' a prototype of the crewed spacecraft that will eventually carry astronauts into orbit.
The gleaming craft is clad in a stainless steel skin with a mirror finish, offering maximum reflectivity during reentry. The windward side will be actively cooled with liquid methane to further dissipate heat.
"Usable strength/weight of full hard stainless at cryo is slightly better than carbon fiber, room temp is worse, high temp is vastly better," Musk wrote on Twitter.
The photo shows the Starship at SpaceX's Texas launch site, towering above an astronaut to show scale. The body is approximately 30 feet in diameter and will be fitted with windows as development transitions from prototype to final design for crewed missions.
The current prototype is focused on suborbital VTOL tests. The orbital version is said to be taller, with a thicker skin that will not have the wrinkles that are visible in the first prototype.
SpaceX expects to have the orbital prototype complete by June.
Starship test flight rocket just finished assembly at the @SpaceX Texas launch site. This is an actual picture, not a rendering. pic.twitter.com/k1HkueoXaz-- Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 11, 2019