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SpaceX is preparing to rocket its latest Starship prototype tens of thousands of feet into the air as early as this week.

The challenge is landing it back on the ground — that maneuver has ended in explosion both times the company previously attempted it. This time around, SpaceX founder Elon Musk estimated that the prototype has a 60% chance of a successful landing.

The prototype represents the upper stage of a two-part system: Eventually, a roughly 23-story booster called Super Heavy would heave the Starship spaceship toward orbit. Musk’s long-term vision is for the system to one day fly astronauts to the moon and power hypersonic travel on Earth. He has said he plans to build 1,000 Starships in order to carry people and cargo to Mars.

But first, SpaceX has to figure out how to land the rocket, since that is critical to making the system reusable. Full reusability could help Starship slash the cost of reaching space 1,000-fold.

The newest prototype is called Starship serial No. 10, or SN10. It’s not yet clear precisely when SpaceX plans to attempt its test flight, but Musk said on Sunday that …read more


Source:: Businessinsider – Tech

      

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