Elon Musk said that during the next test launch, the Starship SN8 prototype spacecraft will be launched to an altitude of over 18 km. Previously, the device rose only a few hundred meters.
In the plans of Elon Musk, the first orbital flight of the new Starship spacecraft should take place next year.
SpaceX is going to use this spacecraft to send people to Mars, but while the device is in development, and the company is conducting test launches only of its prototypes.
There are several months left until the end of 2020, and different versions of Starship have not yet climbed more than a few hundred meters.
But recently Elon Musk said that in the near future we are expecting an almost full-fledged test launch of the next prototype.
вЂњThe SN8 Starship with flaps and nose cone should be ready in about a week. Then there should be fire tests, checks, a flight to an altitude of 60,000 feet and back, вЂќMusk wrote on his Twitter.
60 thousand feet or 18.3 km is, of course, still far from the boundaries of the Earth's atmosphere with outer space, but already several kilometers higher than passenger airliners fly.
Prior to that, the prototypes of the Starship spacecraft were able to rise to an altitude ten times lower, so the upcoming test, which should be expected in the next week, will be especially important for SpaceX.
A couple of weeks ago, the last Starship SN6 prototype was launched in South Texas вЂ” the device took off several hundred meters, hovered for a few seconds, and sat down on landing legs.
Starship SN6 is the latest in a line of prototypes that have been used as test beds to create a fully reusable launch system capable of deep space missions.
This system will consist of a full-fledged 50-meter-high Starship spacecraft and a giant Super Heavy rocket that launches the ship from Earth. Musk said both ships will be reusable and are likely to be targeted at offshore launches.
The next test flight of the new Starship prototype will be available on SpaceX's YouTube channel.