According to a draft published in Reuters, Elon Musk’s SpaceX is expanding its facilities in Florida as it aims to make room for the forthcoming super heavy-lift launch vehicle named ‘Starship’. The agency is building two orbital prototypes for Starship spacecraft, one each in Texas and Florida.
Sharing the pictures of prototypes being made in Texas, Musk tweeted-
Just left Starship Texas build site. Very proud of progress SpaceX team has made! Pics are of 9m dome rotation & Starship airframe behind windbreak. pic.twitter.com/1cmOzkPlkn
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 5, 2019
The two prototypes of Starship could be ready to fly over before the end of August this year. The 384-foot-long Starship will be taller than ‘Statue of Liberty’ and is a reusable two stage rocket. It will be central to both i.e. Musk’s interplanetary space travel mission and NASA’s goal to send humans to moon again by 2024.
SpaceX plans to send Starship around Moon with artists on board by 2024. Moreover, Musk plans to send uncrewed Starship on Moon by 2021 itself.
Earlier this year, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine stated that the space agency could consider using a third-party rocket like the SpaceX Falcon Heavy for returning to the lunar surface but later clarified that Artemis programme would use NASA's new Space Launch System.
Taking cues from NASA's plans, Musk added that the quickest way back to the moon may be to go it alone. "If it were to take longer to convince NASA and the authorities that we can do it versus just doing it, then we might just do it. It may literally be easier to just land Starship on the moon than try to convince NASA that we can," he noted.
In its draft environmental assessment, SpaceX said that Starship will make return landings on the Air Force landing pad which is currently used for the company’s Falcon 9 boosters.