New SpaceX animation of Starship launching shows how the rocket company plans to turn Texas into Earth’s interplanetary transport hub

  • Starship would launch from small town near Mexican border
  • Would launch into orbit and refuel via a tanker vehicle, then travel into space
  • Launch rocket housing would return to Earth and be reused 
  • SpaceX owns 112 parcels of land in and around the small Texas town 

A video from SpaceX reveals new details on Elon Musk‘s ambitious plans for space travel and his plans to convert a small town in Texas into a hub for interplanetary travel.

The digital render shows the Starship Mark 1, a prototype of the vehicle Space X plans to be at the center of its interplanetary travel plans.

The Starship is mounted atop a Super Heavy rocket, which launches the spacecraft into orbit. 

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A digital rendering of a Starship Mark 1 mounted on top of a Super Heavy Rocket lifts off from SpaceX's launch facility in Boca Chica Village, Texas

A digital rendering of a Starship Mark 1 mounted on top of a Super Heavy Rocket lifts off from SpaceX’s launch facility in Boca Chica Village, Texas

Although Musk has high hopes for this rocket, experts have poured cold water on the extravagant plans, saying the first manned trip to Mars would not happen for at least a decade and that Musk’s project was ‘a fantasy’.

To the uninitiated, the idea of sending humans to Mars sometime within the decade sounds exciting, but for perspective, only twelve people have set foot on the moon in the last 50 years.

 The moon is a quick three day trip, but traveling to Mars would take at least nine months. 

A round journey could take three years, and if there are any small errors or issues, the results could be catastrophic for the travelers.  SpaceX animation shows Starship craft launch from new Texas siteLoaded: 0%Progress: 0%0:00PreviousPlaySkipMuteCurrent Time0:00/Duration Time1:54FullscreenNeed Text

Carrying sufficient food and resources would likely be a challenge as well, and new research has shown the human body experiences adverse effects from prolonged space exposure that should be addressed before any humans take such a dramatic risk. 

In spite of the criticisms, Musk is still moving forward with his plan. 

The video shows that once the two pass through the Earth’s atmosphere, the Starship detaches from the rocket and links up with a tanker vehicle in orbit around the Earth. 

The tanker fills the Starship with propellant for its journey deeper into space, while the rocket falls back to Earth and lands safely at the launch site where it can be reused for future launches. 

A prototype of SpaceX's Starship vehicle in Boca Chica Village, Texas. The vehicle is planned for travel to the Moon, Mars, and beyond

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A prototype of SpaceX’s Starship vehicle in Boca Chica Village, Texas. The vehicle is planned for travel to the Moon, Mars, and beyond

The new video, picked up by Business Insider, shows SpaceX’s facilities in Boca Chica, Texas, a small village on the southeastern coast of just a few miles north of the border with Mexico.

Five years ago, SpaceX began construction on a launchpad there and intends to test several rocket launches there and compare its effectiveness to the company’s other main launch facility in Cape Canaveral, Florida. 

The Starship and Super Heavy Rocket travel through the Earth's atmosphere after launch

The Starship and Super Heavy Rocket travel through the Earth’s atmosphere after launch

‘We are going to be building ships and boosters at both Boca and the Cape as fast as we can,’ Musk said in a presentation last weekend.

‘It’s going to be really nutty to see a bunch of these things — I mean, not just one, but a whole stack of them.’ 

‘And we’re improving both the design and the manufacturing method exponentially.’ 

One of the main differences between the sites is ownership.

In Cape Canaveral, SpaceX leases property from NASA and the Air Force, while in Boca Chica, SpaceX has been busy buying property from locals.

The Starship and Super Heavy Rocket reach orbit above Earth

The Starship and Super Heavy Rocket reach orbit above Earth

The Super Heavy Rocket detaches from the Starship and returns to the launch site, while the Starship links up with a tanker vehicle and is loaded with more propellant for travel deeper into space

The Super Heavy Rocket detaches from the Starship and returns to the launch site, while the Starship links up with a tanker vehicle and is loaded with more propellant for travel deeper into space

SpaceX owns 112 parcels of land in Boca Chica and the surrounding area, and has purchased six homes from village residents between 2014 and 2017.

Current NASA safety standards recommend a 3-mile radius around launch sites, but in Boca Chica, there is still a private home 1.8 miles away from SpaceX’s launch pad.

SpaceX has been steadily buy land and homes in Boca Chica Village Texas, and the surrounding area

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SpaceX has been steadily buy land and homes in Boca Chica Village Texas, and the surrounding area

A Boca Chica local walks his talk in the small Texas town just a few miles from the border with Mexico

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A Boca Chica local walks his talk in the small Texas town just a few miles from the border with Mexico

‘I think the actual danger to Boca Chica Village is low but is not tiny, so therefore we want super-tiny risk,’ Musk said during his presentation.

‘Probably over time, better to buy out the villagers.’

WHAT IS ELON MUSK’S ‘BFR’?

The BFR (Big F***ing Rocket), now known as Starship, will complete all missions and is smaller than the ones Musk announced in 2016.

The SpaceX CEO said the rocket would take its first trip to the red planet in 2022, carrying only cargo, followed by a manned mission in 2024 and claimed other SpaceX’s products would be ‘cannibalised’ to pay for it.

The rocket would be partially reusable and capable of flight directly from Earth to Mars.

Once built, Musk believes the rocket could be used for travel on Earth – saying that passengers would be able to get anywhere in under an hour.

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