The sheer size is awe-inspiring.
SpaceX has reached a milestone in the long journey of getting its Mars-bound Starship rocket off the ground.
A picture uploaded by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk shows off his space company’s first Super Heavy booster, a massive 230-foot rocket meant to get Starship, a gargantuan spacecraft in itself, into orbit.
In fact, as Teslarati points out, it’s likely the largest rocket booster ever built.
The rocket prototype, dubbed Booster 1, “is a production pathfinder, figuring out how to build and transport 70-meter-tall stage,” Musk said in a Thursday tweet. “Booster 2 will fly.”
The Super Heavy rocket stage is meant to get Starship off the ground, but return back to Earth for vertical landing not long after liftoff. If you’re keeping score, that’s very much the same principle as the company’s workhorse Falcon 9 boosters.
In fact, Musk’s ambitions already go beyond that plan. As he’s suggested in the past, SpaceX may attempt to one day catch the Super Heavy booster using a tower with giant arms.
Once Starship reaches the surface of either the Moon or Mars, it won’t need as much power to get back home due to thinner atmospheres and reduced gravity.
It’s an important moment for the space company, particularly in light of its ambitious timelines. If all goes according to plan, Musk is planning to launch Starship’s first orbital test flight as soon as this year — and it’ll need a Super Heavy booster to do that.
If recent rumors are to be believed, a third iteration of the Super Heavy booster could launch Starship SN20 to space as soon as this summer.
READ MORE: Elon Musk shows off SpaceX’s 1st Starship Super Heavy booster [Space.com]
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