Elon Musk says Mars and Starship update could come later this month

The business end of the SpaceX Starship hopper prototype


Elon Musk/SpaceX

Less than three years after dazzling the world with a slideshow about going to Mars, SpaceX founder and real-life comic book character Elon Musk aims to present a progress report. But we’ll have to wait until after his red planet rocket gets off the ground for the first time.

Musk said Sunday on Twitter that he “will do Starship presentation a few weeks after Hopper hovers, so prob late July.”

SpaceX has been building a Starhopper prototype of its Starship vehicle at the company’s facility in south Texas. Starship is the vehicle Musk and SpaceX hope to use for a highly publicized trip around the moon in a few years, as well as for future trips to Mars and perhaps even very quick international flights via space

So far, testing of Starhopper has been limited to hold-down firings of its single Raptor engine. Plans for it to actually lift off the ground and at least hover (or “hop”) before landing have been delayed in recent weeks. 

Musk also said Sunday that Starhopper is “almost ready to hover” after a vibration problem with the Raptor engine was resolved. 

The Tesla Motors and SpaceX CEO has conceded in the past that he isn’t always great about sticking to his own timelines. Starship, however, seems like it could be progressing steadily toward a first crewed trip to Mars in 2024 as hoped. Of course, it still has to get off the ground first. 

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