High winds knock over and damage SpaceX test rocket
SpaceX’s Starship prototype rocket has been damaged by high winds in Texas, which blew the top half of the hopper off on Wednesday.
The upper cone portion of the stainless steel vehicle was thrown aside at the company’s site in Boca Chica, Texas, weeks after Elon Musk revealed images of the Starship beginning to take shape.
Mr Musk had previously indicated that the test rocket could be ready for trial flights within four weeks, but admitted it could be as long as eight weeks when unforeseen issues are factored in.
Speaking on Twitter about the incident, Mr Musk said that repair work could take “a few weeks”.
“I just heard. 50 mph winds broke the mooring blocks late last night & fairing was blown over,” he tweeted. “Will take a few weeks to repair.”
The lower portion and fuel tanks are understood to have not been damaged as a result of the strong gusts.
This particular model will be used to test short launches and landings. The first orbital prototype should be ready by June.
In November, the rocket was renamed from Big Falcon Rocket to Starship.
SpaceX recently announced that it would lay off around 10% of its 6,000-strong workforce in a bid to make the company “leaner”.