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Starship Could Attempt Near-Earth Orbit Test Flight Next Year, Elon Musk Says

© Photo : SpaceXSpaceX Starhopper vehicle conducts 150 meter test
SpaceX Starhopper vehicle conducts 150 meter test - Sputnik International
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - SpaceX CEO Elon Musk says the Starship reusable launch vehicle that his company is developing with the intention of taking humans to the moon and Mars at some point, could fly to the near-Earth orbit as soon as next year.
"This is uncharted territory. Nobody's ever made a fully reusable orbital rocket", Musk said at the virtual Humans To Mars summit on Monday, adding that the first test flight was going to happen "probably next year" but that it "might not work".

Musk said on Monday that SpaceX could start the construction of a booster prototype (Super Heavy) to pair with Starship as soon as this week.

In early August, a Starship prototype made a short 150 metre (492 feet) hop from the Space X’s site near the South Texas village of Boca Chica.

​It comes after previous prototypes, except for the first one (Starhopper), failed during testing. In November 2019, the Starship Mk1 prototype was damaged during a cryogenic pressure test. In February, the Starship SN1 prototype exploded during a liquid nitrogen pressure test. In April, the Starship SN3 prototype was destroyed during a pressure test. In May, the SN4 went up in flames due to what appears to have been a gas leak.

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