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Elon Musk showcases SpaceX's Starship test rocket


San Francisco, Jan 11 (IANS): SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has for the first time offered a glimpse of the company's Starship test flight rocket, dubbed the "Hopper".

"Starship test flight rocket just finished assembly at the @SpaceX Texas launch site. This is an actual picture, not a rendering," Musk tweeted, while posting an image of the vehicle on Thursday.

The Starship vehicle was formerly known as the Big Falcon Rocket (BFR), a fully reusable vehicle designed to take humans and supplies to Mars and also to dramatically cut travel time within Earth.

This two-stage vehicle -- composed of a Booster and a Ship -- is designed to eventually replace the company's Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy and the Dragon spacecraft.

It is designed to service all Earth orbit needs as well as the Moon and Mars.

The Starship Hopper that Musk showcased will do suborbital vertical flight tests similar to the Falcon 9 Hopper back in 2013.

"Orbital version is taller, has thicker skins (won't wrinkle) & a smoothly curving nose section," he added.

Musk said the company should have its first orbital prototype by June, Mashable.com reported. 


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