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SpaceX begins construction of the Mars rocket prototype



The company also launched its first navigation satellite for the US military, in victories against Boeing and Lockheed-Martin

SpaceX's space transportation company has carried out its first mission for the US military by launching a $ 500 million (£ 394 million) navigation satellite.

The company also revealed that it had begun building a Mars rocket prototype planned at its base in Texas.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 lifter carrying a Lockheed Martin satellite was launched on Sunday from Cape Canaveral in Florida, shortly before 9 am local time.

The appointment follows four planned launches during the previous week all of which were canceled due to weather or technical issues.

Illustration of the launch of Big Falcon Rocket. Image credit: SpaceX
Illustration September 2018 about the launch of the Big Falcon Rocket Mars vehicle. Image credit: SpaceX

GPS III

This launch is a success for SpaceX, which has struggled to force the US military to open the launch into competition.

Military satellites in the past were generally placed in orbit by military contractors Boeing and Lockheed-Martin.

SpaceX sued the US Air Force in 2014 for the arrangement and the following year the Air Force agreed to increase competition. SpaceX won the current $ 83 million contract for satellite in 2016.

The GPS III satellite is one of 32 produced by Lockheed as part of an Air Force contract worth $ 12.6 billion, with the next set to be launched in mid-2019.

Illustration of the launch of Big Falcon Rocket. Image credit: SpaceX
Illustration of the launch of Big Falcon Rocket. Image credit: SpaceX

‘Super Heavy’

Separately, SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk said at the weekend that the company had begun building a Mars "Starship" rocket prototype, which was planned to rise above a lift called "Super Heavy".

The previous Starship was called "Big Falcon Spaceship", while the Super Heavy was known as "Big Falcon Booster", whose name was changed to occur in November along with design changes.

Musk posted a picture of the Starship component on Twitter, appearing to confirm social media reports about the parts that arrived at the launch site of SpaceX & Boca Chica, Texas.

He said the prototype was a test vehicle set for the test launch in early 2019.

Illustration of the launch of Big Falcon Rocket. Image credit: SpaceX
Illustration of the launch of Big Falcon Rocket. Image credit: SpaceX

"I will do a full Starship technical presentation after the test vehicle we built in Texas flew, so hopefully March / April," Musk said at the weekend. Twitter.

He said the Starship test was a planned vehicle with a full diameter of 30 feet, but would be less than the full height planned by Starship, while the Super Heavy prototype would be built at full size.

The segment is being produced at the Port of Los Angeles, he said.

Before the latest November redesign of the vehicle, Musk said in late October that SpaceX was still aiming to meet a planned schedule to launch a crew to Mars by 2024.


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