SpaceX is iterating towards the final Starship design through a series of prototypes, starting with the unveiling of the first version in January previous year, to the 150-meter hop test of SN5 a few months ago, to today's flight of SN8.
Further, the state also provides the benefit of no state income tax and a lower cost of living, which might have appealed to Musk who outstripped Bill Gates for becoming the world's second-richest person as Tesla's stock reached record heights in November month.
The flight was planned to check the integrity of the gargantuan metal body of SN8 (Starship number 8) and its three engines for their aerodynamics, during launch and landing which happens vertically on the same principle as that of the pioneering Falcon 9 rocket. "Awesome test", "nice work", SpaceX commented after the hard landing yesterday.
NASA previously awarded the private space company $135m to develop Starship, with Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin and Leidos-owned Dynetcis competing to secure contracts for the U.S. space agency's Artemis programme.
"Congrats SpaceX team hell yeah!" In fact, SN8 prototype's test flight out of the SpaceX Boca Chica testing facility was history in the making, literally paving the way to humans colonizing Mars in the foreseeable future. After four minutes and 45 seconds of flight, its third engine extinguished and the rocket began its descent in its expected position.
The way that we test the readiness of spacecraft changed forever on January 27, 1967, when a flash fire swept through the Apollo 1 command module during a launch rehearsal test.
SpaceX already has conducted five Starship test flights, but these earlier, simpler models have gone no higher than 150 metres. Excluding a heavy booster that creates a two-stage system, Starship is 160 feet high with a 30-foot diameter, able to carry as many as 100 passengers.