CEO of SpaceX, Elon musk shared new pictures which provided a detailed view of the orbital starship prototype that is in progress. This is going to be a step up from the StarHopper. StarHopper was basically a scaled-down version that was being used for the testing of Raptor engine with initially low altitude “hop” flights.
The StarHopper was considerably low end when it comes to performance and these new starship prototypes Mk 1 and Mk 2, both of which are under production will be used to test flights at higher altitudes combined with higher speeds and as an add on these will be using a maximum of three to six raptor engines at the same time, which was not the case in StarHopper.
The new starships are being manufactured simultaneously at the SpaceX facilities in South Texas and Florida. These starships have a smooth curved top when compared to the previous one.
The production is in full swing and once complete, SpaceX will run the first test of the orbital prototype, these prototypes are expected to perform better in every aspect, for instance, the goal of the text would be reaching a height of 12 miles and this will be done before moving on to higher velocity testing at similar height, and finally a first orbital flight.
SpaceX is ultimately trying to get these spacecraft to a potential where they can become the workhorse of all of its commercial purposes which means these will replace the Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy and Dragon Capsule spacecraft. These will also be used to trip astronauts to Mars and if possible then beyond that too.