Elon Musk Shares An Impressive Image Showing Actual Tank Size

The spacecraft, SpaceX’s ambitious vehicle designed to send humans to the moon, Mars and beyond, is taking shape.

On Wednesday, CEO Elon Musk shared a Twitter image of two of the rocket tanks on the center platform. These tanks have made regular appearances in the company’s test as they build up pressure to see if they are capable of handling the harsh conditions at the far reaches of space.

Musk also suggested on Wednesday that SpaceX could soon reveal more details about the Starship project. In response to a Twitter post by space photographer Austin Barnard, Musk wrote that September “sounds good” for another presentation.

Musk’s post.Twitter

The image is a preview of the type of scale SpaceX is targeting with its giant ships. Since the rocket’s predecessor was first announced in September 2017, it has undergone numerous design changes and transformed into the fully reusable stainless steel giant that is seen today. But with the first unexpected commercial flights until 2021 at the earliest, size comparisons have been few and far between. What we do know is that the ship will measure somewhere near 400 feet tall, 30 feet in diameter, and will offer space to send more than 150 tons or 100 people into space at once.

Standing tanks.Twitter

Wednesday’s image helps put all of that in perspective. As a Twitter user named “mattwgn1983” noted, the top of the two giant tanks shows two workers preparing for the future of space travel. These figures look like ants compared to the huge scale of the tanks, practically overshadowed by their large size:

Little people in the tank.Twitter

It may not be long before fans find out more about the status of the Starship project. Musk suggested on Wednesday that the company could host another Starship presentation in September, as it has for the past four years:

  • In 2016, Musk detailed the Interplanetary Transportation System at the International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico.
  • In 2017, Musk described what was then known as the “BFR” at the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Australia. This ship would be used for missions to Mars, but could also take on smaller missions currently completed by Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy.
  • In 2018, Musk announced at SpaceX headquarters in California that Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa would take the “BFR” on a trip around the moon with six to eight artists in 2023.
  • In 2019, Musk unveiled the first full-size prototype of the spacecraft at the Boca Chica facility in Texas.

Since the presentation in 2019, SpaceX has been testing miniature prototype tanks. The company’s objective has been to build a tank that can reach pressures of around 8.5 bar at cryogenic levels, enough for human flights. The pressure of the atmosphere at sea level is around one bar. The results have been mixed: SpaceX hit 7.5 bars at room temperature in January 2020, but a cryogenic test run on the full-size prototype in March led to a dramatic explosion.

On Wednesday, Teslarati reported that SpaceX had flown its third test tank. This tank used a new 304L stainless steel alloy, which offers better malleability than previously used 301 alloy at prices around 10 percent higher.

the Reverse analysis – SpaceX is moving forward to refine its Starship materials, and these images are not necessarily representative of the final product. But they do highlight one of the most impressive aspects of the project: when paired with its Super Heavy booster, the spacecraft will be much taller than any other rocket the company has ever made.

The rocket designed to send humans to Mars can not only complete impressive missions, but could also look great.