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SpaceX hopes to ‘hop’ another Starship prototype this weekend – CNET

starshipsn5

SN5 blasts off earlier in August. 

SpaceX

If you missed it the first time around, there may be another opportunity, in the coming days, to see an early version of Elon Musk’s Mars rocket take a very short flight.

SpaceX has been working at its Boca Chica, Texas, site to develop Starship, its next-generation spacecraft designed to eventually take people to the moon, Mars and even farther.

Earlier this month a single-engine Starship prototype labeled SN5 successfully made its first “hop,” which was a short flight of nearly 500 feet in altitude, followed by a controlled landing not far from the launch pad. 

Now playing: Watch this: SpaceX Starship prototype takes first ‘hop’

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We saw the same feat performed by a smaller prototype dubbed Starhopper in 2019, but the far larger SN series is designed to be capable of orbital flight. It’s not clear when we might see that, but Musk has said the plan is to do a series of hops in order to work up to higher altitude flights. 

Cameron County, Texas, where the development site is located, has issued an all-day road closure for this Friday, with backup dates on Saturday and Sunday, suggesting that SpaceX hopes to hop SN6, its next prototype, this weekend. 

Of course, we’ve seen these closures issued and then canceled before, and there’s some nasty weather nearby. Still, fingers crossed. Anything that looks like progress is a welcome diversion these days.

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