SpaceX hopes that a small friendly competition will improve the design of the Mars spacecraft.
The company has already built a small-scale prototype of the 100-passenger Starship vehicle at its South Texas facility. And similar fabrication and development work is being done on the Space Coast, founder and CEO of SpaceX in Florida. Elon Musk confirmed this week.
"SpaceX is hosting simultaneous Starship contests in Boca Chica, Texas and Cape Canaveral, Florida," Musk said via Twitter on Tuesday (May 14).
Related: SpaceX Starship and Super Heavy Mars Rocket in Pictures
"Both sites will make a lot of starships," he said. "This is a competition to see which location is most effective. said on another tweet that day. "Any perception gained by one team should be shared with the other, but another team is not required to use it," he added. another tweet.
SpaceX is developing concurrent Starship competitions in Boca Chica, Texas and Cape Canaveral, FloridaMay 14, 2019
The reusable Starship is designed to take people to and from the moon, Mars and other distant destinations. The vehicle will be launched on top of a powerful rocket called Super Heavy, which will also be reusable.
Both Starship and Super Heavy will employ SpaceX's next-generation Raptor engine. Seven Raptors will dominate Starship, and Super Heavy will incorporate 31 of them. SpaceX has finished building its fourth Raptor, and the fifth is under construction at the company's headquarters in Hawthorne, California, Musk said on Tuesday's tweet topic. SpaceX will likely hit the 100-Raptor brand early in 2020, he added.
The Texas-built Starship prototype, which SpaceX calls Starhopper, uses a Raptor engine. The vehicle completed a short test jump in Boca Chica last month, rising a bit off the block while still connected to the ground via a rope.
The Starhopper test can be resumed later this month, Ars Technica reported, citing highway closure information reported by The Brownsville Herald.
Starship and Super Heavy already have a flight in their manifesto: the Japanese businessman Yusaku Maezawa has reserved a Voyage of ships around the moon, with a launch date scheduled for 2023.
But the real target for the space transportation system is Mars. Musk has said many times over the years that he founded SpaceX primarily to help humanity colonize the Red Planet and become a kind of multiplanet.