We are at the dawn of a new era in space flight.
SpaceX has shared new photos on Twitter that show it is almost finished installing the 39 new Raptor engines it requires to launch its fully reusable Starship rocket to space for the first time.
If upcoming tests are successful, the engines will be able to launch simultaneously into space sometime this summer.
SpaceX is planning a summer Starship orbital test flight.
On June 23, SpaceX's Super Heavy Booster 7, which includes 33 new Raptor 2 engines, made its way to the launch pad for the third time.
SpaceX may perform a wet dress rehearsal similar to the one NASA recently performed on its moon-bound Space Launch System (SLS).
33 Raptor engines have been installed on the Booster and six on the Ship pic.twitter.com/l7K6rH96qa
Now, SpaceX has shared images of the almost-finished Booster 7 and the Starship S24 with six Raptor engines.
Ship 24 appears to have a new metal framework around the ship's aft, which was likely added to allow for additional thermal protection for ground investigations and the eventual orbital launch. The fully reusable launch vehicle prototype has also passed cryogenic testing and thrust simulation tests.
SpaceX has requested road closures on July 5-7 and July 11-12, each of which would provide a 12-hour testing period on any of these days, according to Teslarati.
The SpaceX Mars-bound Starship is nearing the ready to fly.
Following the completion of a much-awaited environmental review, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced that the company's massive Mars-bound rocket would "be ready to fly" in July.
Musk declared, "For the first time ever, a rocket capable of establishing permanent bases on the moon and Mars" owing to the fact that SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket reuses its first stage boosters upon reentry.
Musk said that the "first Starship orbital flight will be with Raptor 2 engines, as they are much more robust [and] reliable. At sea level, they'll have 39 flightworthy engines completed by next month, then another month to integrate, so hopefully May for orbital flight test."
Raptor V2 is "much more reliable" and "much more powerful." SpaceX was able to increase Raptor's maximum thrust by 25 percent, to 230 tons of thrust at sea level, while the V1.5 engines used on Starships SN8-11 and SN15 produced about185 tons (410,000 lbf).
SpaceX has finally received FAA approval, so we may be on the verge of seeing Starship enter space for the first time. If Musk is to be believed, it may be the first rocket to reach the Red Planet that could eventually bring up to a million people.