SpaceX Starship prototype damaged by high winds

SpaceX’s Starship hopper took a beating from windy weather.


Before it sends humans around the moon or all the way to Mars, SpaceX needs to get its ambitious Starship spaceship into operation. A prototype “hopper” designed for takeoff and landing tests suffered a setback when high winds knocked its nose cone over.

SpaceX watcher Maria Pointer captured images of the incident in Texas and shared them on Facebook on Wednesday. The photos show the nose cone fallen over on the ground. 

“Starship falls around 5 a.m. But we heard metal damage from 2 a.m. onward,” Pointer wrote in another post. “We did not have hurricane force wind warnings.”

SpaceX founder Elon Musk confirmed the damage on Twitter, writing that 50 mph winds broke the mooring blocks and the fairing was blown over. “Will take a few weeks to repair,” he said, adding that the tanks on the bottom end of the ship are fine.

Musk and SpaceX unveiled the shiny Starship earlier in January. This test version won’t be heading into space, but Musk says SpaceX hopes to have an orbital prototype ready around June. 

The company’s South Texas Launch Site is located in Boca Chica Village near Brownsville, Texas. The National Weather Service in Brownsville issued a wind advisory late on Tuesday, saying “caution is advised for high-profile vehicles.” Starship is definitely a high-profile vehicle.

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