Elon Musk-run SpaceX will start flight testing its Super Heavy booster (starting with low-altitude “hops”) in a few months from now.
Super Heavy booster will be used to fly Starship for orbital launches and deeper space missions, including Mars.
Reacting to a follower on Twitter, Musk said late on Thursday that the first Super Heavy hop is just “a few months” away.
The SpaceX CEO and founder said the company will use both of its two launch pads in Boca Chica, Texas with prototype rockets set up on each.
SpaceX recently set up its SN9 prototype of Starship at its Texas testing facility.
Meanwhile, Super Heavy will be nearly 240 feet tall and include 28 Raptor engines.
Earlier this month, a prototype of the next-generation heavy-lift rocket Starship exploded on landing after a high-altitude test flight in Texas.
The launch and ascent of Starship serial number 8 (SN8) were successful, but as the engines appeared to reignite for landing, the vehicle flipped back to vertical and then slammed into the ground.
Starship is SpaceX’s fully reusable transportation system designed to carry both crew and cargo to the Earth’s orbit, the Moon, Mars, and beyond.
Musk said this month that the company is working towards launch of an uncrewed Mars flight in about two years.
In August, a prototype of SpaceX’s Mars Starship spacecraft got off the ground in a test flight, marking a small step that could one day prove to be a giant leap towards the human exploration of the Red Planet.
The vehicle, Starship SN5, performed a small hop as it took to the skies for about 40 seconds.
“Mars is looking real,” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted shortly after the test flight.
Several of Starship SN5’s predecessors got destroyed during test flights.
SpaceX says its Starship spacecraft and Super Heavy rocket (collectively referred to as Starship) represent a fully reusable transportation system designed to carry both crew and cargo to Earth orbit, the Moon, Mars and beyond.