Research

50 miles per hour winds blow off the top of new SpaceX rocket

50 miles per hour winds blow off the top of new SpaceX rocket

The current test vehicle is 30 feet across and 180 feet tall. Musk says the base of the prototype rocket is fine, but the damage to the nosecone will take a few weeks to fix.

The rocket represents the test iteration of Starship, which the company is building to ferry humans and cargo to the Red Planet.

Fortunately for SpaceX, the damage caused by the winds appears to have been confined to the fairing portion, which is like a large nosecone dominates the top of the spacecraft. This prototype, which would be used for takeoff tests and landing trials, was created since the holidays by the Elon Musk-owned space company's engineers in the location.

"I just heard", he tweeted on Wednesday morning, confirming local on-the-ground reports that the vehicle was no longer vertical.

On Twitter, Elon Musk confirmed the damage and explained that winds reaching 50 miles per hour broke the mooring blocks and blew over the fairing, adding that fixing it should take "a few weeks". "Will take a few weeks to fix", confirmed Musk when a Twitter user asked him about the crash.

More news: Congo prepares to inaugurate new president from opposition

@NASAspaceflight Whoops. Starship Hopper nosecone has been blown over in high winds.

The hopper, as Musk and SpaceX COO Gwynne Shotwell calls the prototype, will not go into space nor orbit the Earth.

Although Musk stated on January 5 that he meant to test the hopper in "four weeks", the SpaceX CEO speculated that it would probably take twice that long given the likelihood of "unforeseen issues". According to the documents from Federal Communications Commission, it was created to make "hops" that will not exceed 16,400 feet.

The prototype is a critical experimental vehicle whose successes (or failures) will inform how SpaceX works toward a full-scale, orbit-ready prototype of Starship: a roughly 18-story spaceship created to one day ferry up to 100 people and 150 tons of cargo to Mars.

It's "very easy to work with steel", Musk said. He said that rocketship would have "thicker skins (won't wrinkle) & a smoothly curving nose section".