SpaceX stacking giant Super Heavy rocket ahead of Starship orbital flight test (photo) - Space.com
Jun 19, 2021 55 secs

SpaceX is gearing up for the most ambitious test flight yet of its Starship Mars rocket.

Last month, a Starship prototype aced a high-altitude test flight for the first time, soaring about 6.2 miles (10 kilometers) into the skies above SpaceX's "Starbase" site in South Texas and then touching down safely back at the facility.

In March, for example, company founder and CEO Elon Musk tweeted that SpaceX was targeting July for that landmark trial, which will require both elements of the reusable Starship system — the 165-foot-tall upper-stage spaceship, called (somewhat confusingly) Starship, and the huge first-stage booster known as Super Heavy. .

Super Heavy was not involved in the 6.2-mile-high flight; that May 5 jaunt employed just a prototype Starship upper stage, one outfitted with three of SpaceX's next-generation Raptor engines.

Construction of the Super Heavy that will be involved in that flight is apparently well underway!

"Stacking Super Heavy aft section," Musk wrote. .

Stacking Super Heavy Aft Section pic.twitter.com/itydacQ4hMJune 15, 2021!

SpaceX has not announced a specific target date for the orbital test, but early July may well be off the table at this point.


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