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From Starhopper to SN20, a brief timeline of the SpaceX Starship development

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Video: SpaceX Starhopper 150-meter flight test on August 27, 2019.

The above video is not a scene from Star Wars, it’s real, the 150-meter test flight of the Starhopper (Starship hopper) — the initial test article of Starship. The successful flight and landing of Starhopper marked the beginning of the amazing Starship program (27th August 2019).

After exactly two years today, the Starship program has come a long way. Under the agile leadership of Elon Musk as CEO, the mission to Mars is moving at an unprecedented pace.

Let’s explore the timeline of the major milestones that SpaceX has achieved since the first Starhopper hop test two years ago to date.

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2019

After the Starhopper successful test flight, SpaceX moved forward with the development of the early Starship prototypes named MK1, Mk2, MK3, and MK4.

MK1

  • Build start: May 20
  • Location: Boca Chica, TX
  • Status: MK1 was able to withstand the early cryogenic pressure tests but later on, met its fate in a rapid unscheduled disassembly (RUD/explosion).

MK2

  • Build Start: May 2019
  • Location: Boca Chica, TX
  • Status: Cancelled/Scrapped

MK3

  • Build start: Oct 2019
  • Location: Boca Chica, TX
  • Status: Canceled, Renamed to SN1

MK4

  • Build Start: Oct 2019
  • Location: Cocoa, FL
  • Status: Cancelled/Scrapped

SN1

SpaceX adopts a new nomenclature for Starship prototypes i.e. the “Serial Number (SN)” prefix before its number.

  • Build Start: Dec 2019
  • Location: Boca Chica, TX aka Starbase
  • Test history: Initial pressure tests OK. Failed in cryogenic pressure testing on 28th Feb 2020.
  • Status: RUD.
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SpaceX Starhopper at Boca Chica Texas before its 150 m test flight.
Credits: Nomadd / NasaSpeceFlight.com (CC BY-SA 4.0).

2020

SN2

  • Build Start: Feb 2020
  • Location: Boca Chica, TX
  • Test Hisotry: Passed cryo pressure test on 8th Mar 2020
  • Status: Retired

SN3

  • Build Start: March 2020
  • Location: Boca Chica, TX
  • Test History: Failed cryo pressure test on 3rd Apr 2020
  • Status: RUD (partially recycled to SN4)

SN4

  • Build Start: Apr 2020
  • Location: Boca Chica, TX
  • Test History: Passed the cryo pressure tests (26th Apr 2020),
    passed 4x static fire tests,
    exploded after tests
  • Status: RUD

SN5

  • Build Start: Apr 2020
  • Location: Boca Chica, TX
  • Test History: Passed static Fire (30th Jul 2020),
    150 m test flight (3rd Aug 2020)
  • Status: Retired/Scrapped

SN6

  • Build Start: May 2020
  • Location: Boca Chica, TX
  • Test History: Passed static Fire (24th Aug 2020),
    150 m test flight (3rd Sep 2020)
  • Status: Retired/Scrapped

SN7

  • Build Start: Apr 2020
  • Location: Boca Chica, TX
  • Test History: Passed 1st cryo test on 15th Jun 2020,
    Failed cryo test on 23rd Jun 2020,
  • Status: Tested to destruction/Scrapped

SN7.1

  • Build Start: Sep 2020
  • Location: Boca Chica, TX aka Starbase
  • Test history: Cryo pressure testing throughout September,
    Destructive cryogenic test on 23rd Sep 2020
  • Status: Tested to destruction

SN8

SN9

Starship SN9 prototype on a beautiful evening at SpaceX Starbase. Credits: Jared Krahn / Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0).
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2021

SN7.2

  • Build Start: Jan 2021
  • Location: Boca Chica, TX
  • Test History: Cryo pressure test (26th Jan 2021),
    cryo test failure(4th Feb 2021)
  • Status: Retired

SN10

SN11

SN12, 13, 14

  • Build start: Oct 2020
  • Location: Boca Chica, TX
  • Status: Cancelled/Scrapped

SN15

SpaceX Starship SN15 just before the high-altitude flight and landing test. Credits: SpaceX.

SN16

SN17, 18, 19

  • Build start: Oct 2020
  • Location: Boca Chica, TX
  • Status: Cancelled/Scrapped

SN20 (Starship 20)

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By Iqtidar Ali

Iqtidar has been writing about Tesla, Elon Musk, and EVs for more than 3 years on XAutoWorld.com, many of his articles have been republished on CleanTechnica and InsideEVs, maintains a healthy relationship with the Tesla community across the Social Media sphere. You can reach him on Twitter @IqtidarAlii