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The first complete stainless steel prototype of the Space X Starship , called Mk1, exploded during a cryogenic pressure test on November 20 in Boca Chica (Texas).
Space X will now focus on developing more advanced prototypes instead of repairing and retesting the Mk1 , the company's founder and CEO, Elon Musk , suggested through his Twitter account.
"Absolutely, move on to the Mk3 design. This had some value as a manufacturing search engine, but the flight design is quite different," Musk wrote. He was responding to an Everyday Astronaut Tim Dodd tweet, who opined that SpaceX could end up making the transition to Mk2 or Mk3, and then directly asked Musk if the company plans to "just move on to Mk3."
Space X representatives reinforced this notion in a statement sent by email, quoted by Space.com.
" The purpose of today's test was to pressurize the systems to the maximum , so the result was not completely unexpected. There were no injuries nor is it a serious setback," they wrote. "As Elon tweeted, Mk1 served as a valuable manufacturing route finder, but the flight design is quite different. The decision had already been made not to fly this test vehicle and the team focuses on the Mk3 constructions, which are designed for orbit. "
The Mk1 was presented at the end of September. The 50-meter-high spacecraft served as a backdrop for Musk's annual design update on Starship , the Space X manned deep space transport system.
The architecture consists of the spacecraft (also known as Starship ) and a giant rocket called Super Heavy , which will be reusable quickly and repeatedly. Super Heavy will launch Starship to Earth, then land again vertically, as the first stages of the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy space X rockets already do.
The spacecraft, which Musk presented as "the Holy Grail of space", will be able to transport around 100 passengers , will go to the moon, Mars or, eventually, any other desired place.
Starship Mk2 is already under construction at the Space X facility on the Florida space coast. Like the Mk1, the Mk2 has three of the next-generation Raptor engines from Space X. The final ship will be powered by six Raptors, Musk said. Meanwhile, Super Heavy will have room for 37 of these engines.
During its September design update, Musk said the Mk1 will fly unmanned test flights at an altitude of 20 kilometers or so , perhaps before the end of the year. With the abandonment of this prototype it remains to be seen how it will affect Space X's plans, which it plans to reach the Moon by 2022 with a Starship . NASA has this ship to carry payload to the Moon within the Artemis Program.
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