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SpaceX's Starship Has More Test Flights Planned

SpaceX's Starship is the rocket that will change everything. Eco-friendly, able to carry cargo and eventually passengers, and most importantly, reusable, this rocket is promising to change space travel forever. Sadly, booking a ticket to space is still a long way away. But we are able to watch the test flights of the Starship rocket, which are admittedly pretty cool. It's not every day you get to watch the baby steps of rocket science.

If you want to launch your own rocket (or watch one being launched), check out these GIFs of Estes model rockets being launched. Or if you feel like making your own (kind of) rockets, check out this comprehensive guide for making some awesome paper airplanes

 

photo spacex starship sn5 rocket flying against blue sky
The Starship SN5 rising  492 feet (150 meters) into the air. 

It's safe to say that Elon Musk is one of the most influential people on Earth today. It seems like every few weeks the 49 year old is casually announcing another breakthrough for one of his companies, SpaceX or Tesla. In the past few months, the Starship rocket has been dominating all discourse surrounding Musk. But what exactly is the Starship and why is it important? 

gif spacex starship sn5 rocket launching smoke fire from launch pad
SpaceX's Starship SN5 taking off for its 150 meter test flight on 5 August 2020.

Before we get started, let's talk about rockets for a moment. Rockets are incredibly expensive to build and send into space, due to many factors: the materials and manpower required to build a rocket, the amount of rocket fuel needed, and the fact that once sent into space, that rocket is never coming back. In other words, rockets are not reusable. 

Elon Musk, innovative as always, is working towards a solution that will make rockets cheaper, more eco friendly, cargo (and eventually passenger) carrying, and most importantly, reusable. But this isn't a simple task by any means. 

photo spacex starship sn5 launching smoke fire silver cylindrical rocket
The Starship SN5 getting ready for its launch.

SpaceX's Starship rocket has been in development since 2012, but proof of concept testing (i.e. real rockets having test flights) began in 2019. In September 2019, Musk promised that the Starship prototypes would be flying to 12.4 mile (20 km) altitude. Things have progressed significantly more slowly than promised, with the first Starship flight test taking place in August 2020. The SN5 reached an altitude of 492 feet (150 meters) before landing again. 

The Starship SN6, a predecessor that came a month after the SN5's launch, also reached a height of 492 feet (150 meters) before a controlled landing on its landing pad. While the SN5 and SN6 test flights have been very cool to witness, there's one question on everyone's mind: when is the next prototype launch? 

gif spacex starship sn6 landing flying towards earth smoke clouds
The Starship SN6 landing after reaching nearly 500 feet.

On 2 October, Musk tweeted that the next Starship launch (SN8) will take place in “about 3 weeks” and a “V1.0” prototype will be presented, which will be the vehicle to actually perform a test flight into orbit. Although progress is moving a little slower than expected, we still think that any and all news of SpaceX's Starship rockets are worth our attention. 

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