SpaceX's 'Starship' Prototype Coming Together in Florida (Photos)

Space.com | 6/24/2019 | Amy Lynn Thompson
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COCOA, Fla. — Deep in the heart of the Florida Space Coast's industrial area, a Mars-colonizing spaceship is being built.

The gleaming new resident is a prototype of SpaceX’s interplanetary craft known as Starship — the 100-passenger vehicle that the company hopes will one day take humans and cargo to the moon, Mars and beyond.

SpaceX - Prototypes - Texas - Florida - Cocoa

SpaceX, which previously announced it would build prototypes in both Texas and Florida, is leasing the Cocoa facility from Coastal Steel. When finished, the metallic craft will stand 180 feet tall (39.6 meters) by 30 feet (9 m) wide.

Peeking out above the treeline, the Florida Starship is finally starting to take shape, after the recent addition of its nose cone. When SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk acknowledged the project last month, the prototype was just a massive, reflective ring of steel; now it’s beginning to look like a bona fide spaceship.

SpaceX - Starship - Construction - Florida - Steel

SpaceX's Starship is under construction at a Florida steel site.

SpaceX is building Starship prototypes in Florida and Texas as part of an intracompany competition to see which location is the most efficient.

View - Starship - A - System

A close-up view of Starship. A numbering system is visible.

Starship coming into view as you drive down Cidco Road, one of the main streets in Cocoa's industrial area.

Company - Progress - Prototype - Starhopper - South

The company has already made significant progress on a similar prototype, dubbed Starhopper, at its South Texas facility. But SpaceX hopes a little friendly intracompany competition will not only improve the design of the craft but also speed up the development process.

"Both sites will make many Starships. This is a competition to see which location is most effective. Answer might be both," Musk said via Twitter last month. "Any insights gained by one team must be shared with the other, but other team not required to use them," he added in another tweet.

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