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SpaceX looks to Mars but has down-to-earth goals : Firm gets ready for test of its red planet spaceship prototype and to take NASA crew to space station.

Jan 10, 2019 - Los Angeles Times

SpaceX's long-stated plans to reach the red planet could take a big step forward as early as February with a so-called "hopper test" of the company's Mars spaceship prototype.

During next month's test, the prototype will launch and briefly go up in the air before coming back down to Earth, Chief Executive Elon Musk revealed last week. But in line with typical Musk timelines, he gave himself a buffer, tweeting Saturday that four weeks "probably means eight weeks, due to unforeseen issues."

Formerly known as BFR, the test spaceship is being assembled in south Texas, about 23 miles east of Brownsville. The vehicle is now called Starship and is intended to launch on top of a massive rocket booster called Super Heavy. The company plans to build the Super Heavy booster and production versions of the Starship at a 19-acre site at the Port of Los An...