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SpaceX Starship Aims for Suborbital Test Flight as Early as March



Photo / SpaceX

SpaceX is currently working around the clock to prepare its Starship rocket for its first suborbital test flight and, based on the production progress shared on Twitter, it could be happening in the very near future. In the beginning of February, Musk invited via social media all eligible applicants to attend a “Starship Career Day”, and called for a massive ramp up of staffing for production shifts – having teams work day and night in order to work 24/7 on the project.

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The career invitation targeted individuals in operations and engineering as well as supervisors and support personnel. Musk tweeted, “A super hardcore work ethic, talent for building things, common sense & trustworthiness are required, the rest we can train.” 

Elon Musk shared a tweet from the SpaceX development facility in Boca Chica, Texas showing a video of production for the rocket nose cone. The glimpse of the nearly completed nose cone reveals that the next Starship prototype test flight is fast approaching and presumably set for the upcoming Starship vehicle, SN1 (serial number 1). 

Another tweet, shows a video by Musk of the Starship high bay. According to NASA Spaceflight, the stacking for the Starship SN1 has already begun. The vehicle is to be assembled in smaller segments and then welded all together during the final assembly process. The hope is to have the entire vehicle stacked and moved by the end of the month to stay on track for a mid March launch.

Last year, the earlier prototype, “Starhopper” was seen near the Texas coast and rose nearly 150 meters (492 feet). The upcoming suborbital test flight called SN1 could reach heights of about 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) and may launch as early as mid March 2020, per FCC filings.   

SpaceX teams are working hard to reach the end game for the Starship which is designed for Earth orbit, moon missions and eventually to go all the way to Mars. 

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