Elon Musk Has Unveiled Plans For A New Version Of The Starship

SpaceX, led by CEO Elon Musk, recently launched the second orbital attempt of its Starship rocket, achieving a new record height of 90 miles before experiencing another explosive event, humorously referred to as a “rapid unscheduled disassembly.” Undeterred by these setbacks, Musk announced plans for version 2 of the orbital-class rocket with significant upgrades. The new iteration is expected to hold more propellant, reduce dry mass, and enhance reliability.

“Version 2 of the ship holds more propellant, reduces dry mass, and improves reliability,” Musk tweeted last week.

Elaborating on the improvements, Musk mentioned a “next-gen Raptor engine” that would not require a heat shield, boasting more thrust, higher efficiency, and various enhancements.

“Will also have more thrust, higher [efficiency] and many other improvements,” he added of the engine.

Despite the potential for faster production, Musk noted that engine production was not the limiting factor, signaling those other challenges needed addressing. He optimistically projected the readiness of “Starship Flight 3 hardware” in three to four weeks, with three ships in final production.

The executive gave a characteristically optimistic timeline in a November 19 tweet, predicting that “Starship Flight 3 hardware should be ready to fly in three to four weeks,” adding that “there are three ships in final production in the high bay,”

While Musk’s timeline is characteristically positive, a more realistic expectation suggests that months may elapse before the next Starship attempt to reach orbit.

Nevertheless, SpaceX is actively developing a significant “Starfactory” production facility to augment Starship production. Once operational, this facility could potentially reduce the time between launch attempts.

In summary, SpaceX is forging ahead with plans for an upgraded Starship rocket despite recent explosive incidents. Elon Musk remains optimistic about overcoming challenges and accelerating production, indicating ongoing efforts to improve the next iteration of the spacecraft.

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