Innovation

SpaceX Starship: Elon Musk shares electrifying video of rocket during storm

SpaceX's under-development rocket braved the elements during an impressive lightning display.

SpaceX

SpaceX’s next rocket is already making a dramatic impression. On Saturday, CEO Elon Musk shared a video on Twitter of the company’s Texas facility, where teams are hard at work on the upcoming Starship rocket.

The fully-reusable Starship, designed to one day send humans to Mars, is preparing for its first orbital flight. The video, taken from a lightning-filled stormy night, shows how it’s already electrifying audiences.

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“This is real btw,” Musk wrote after sharing the video, perhaps indicating that the scene looks almost too dramatic to be true.

Perhaps to demonstrate this further, Musk later shared a YouTube link to a trailer for 1974 horror film Young Frankenstein, complete with lightning storms reminiscent of the Starship’s background:

What is SpaceX Starship?

The video is just one of many that have emerged during the Starships’ development. First unveiled under the name BFR in 2017, the Starship is designed to send up to 100 tons or 150 people into space at a time. Its use of liquid oxygen and methane as a fuel means astronauts can fly to Mars, refuel using the planet’s resources, and either fly home or venture out further.

In short, the Starship could fulfill Musk’s ambition to transform humanity into a multi-planetary species.

That’s already got fans producing their own concepts of the rocket. Previous images include how it could launch 240 Starlink satellites at once, how it will work with the “Mechazilla” grabbing tower, and how it will look when standing nearly 400 feet tall at the tower.

The latest footage came from LabPadre, a 24-hour livestream of SpaceX’s construction facility in Boca Chica, Texas. In a Twitter post about the images, the site’s maintainer wrote that “tonight was electrifying.”

LabPadre's images from the lightning storm.LabPadre/Twitter

Musk’s latest video share received a number of responses from some of his 60 million followers.

“Tesla about to accept Lightning payments,” wrote a Twitter user called “CoinCornerDanny.” The comment references how Musk’s electric car company briefly accepted Bitcoin cryptocurrency payments for around 50 days at the start of this year. The Lightning network is a system designed to speed up cryptocurrency payments.

“Is this when you start yelling ‘It's alive! Alive!’ and laughing maniacally?” wrote another Twitter user called “CompuTim.” As Musk posted a link to the Young Frankenstein trailer, it’s likely he was thinking along similar lines.

SpaceX Starship vs. the FAA

Musk’s latest post shows how the Starship will cut an impressive silhouette when it debuts. The ship, when paired with its Super Heavy booster, will measure around 400 feet. That will stand taller than NASA’s Saturn V, which at 363 feet tall currently holds the record as tallest rocket to ever fly.

Unfortunately, it may take some time before Musk’s creation truly comes alive. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration announced last week that it would extend the public comment period around SpaceX’s ongoing environmental review. The review, a key hurdle to hosting an orbital launch, will now take public comments through November 1 — meaning the chances of an orbital launch this year are looking increasingly slim.

Hopefully it doesn’t postpone Musk’s plans too much. SpaceX aims to send the first humans to Mars sometime in the mid-2020s, as a stepping stone to establishing a full-size city on the planet by 2050.

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