Tesla CEO and SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted images of the now completed starship “Hopper” test flight rocket to great praise from the tech media, but those on social media noted it’s lack of similarity to artist’s renderings and remain skeptical of its flight worthiness.
SpaceX founder Elon Musk posted photos of the company’s new Starship Hopper test flight rocket recently. The rocket reportedly stands at 120 feet tall and will be used for a suborbital test launch in the near future according to the Tesla CEO. Musk tweeted: “This is for suborbital VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) tests. Orbital version is taller, has thicker skins (won’t wrinkle) & a smoothly curving nose section.” The Hopper will reportedly launch to an altitude of five kilometers and hover before landing again.
Musk’s latest photos of the rocket can be seen below:
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 11, 2019
While this rocket is reportedly a prototype and Musk has claimed that the final version will not have a “wrinkled” outer texture, the current rocket does not look very close to the original rendering that Musk previously shared, which was smoother, shinier and looked like something out of a 60’s sci-fi film:
Starship test vehicle under assembly will look similar to this illustration when finished. Operational Starships would obv have windows, etc. pic.twitter.com/D8AJ01mjyR
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 5, 2019
While some members of the online tech media have uncritically praised the rocket — in our case describing it as “liquid silver” — critics across social media have noted that the rocket essentially looks as if it is wrapped in tinfoil:
— BBCFaking (@BBCFaking) January 11, 2019
I’ve got a leftover roll of exoskeletal heat reflecting Rocket skin for sale. Asking only $2,000 since I had to use a few sheets to keep my oatmeal warm this AM.
— Salt_Nole (@Salt_Nole) January 11, 2019
— ToolGrinder (@tool_grinder) January 11, 2019
This is a joke right? This thing looks like a pile of crap. It literally looks like a tweaker made it during a week long binge.
Was there a sale on tinfoil?@SpaceX @elonmusk $tsla $tslaq pic.twitter.com/PWMsYKBnO3
— Hand Of Glory (@Hognalysis) January 11, 2019
— Tweet Tweaker (@TweeterTweaker) January 11, 2019
Another user noted the differences between the professional shots of the rocket versus photos from users at the launch site, which paint a less than flattering picture of the Hopper:
Here is another view. Image taken yesterday by user "Nomad" on the Nasaspaceflight forum. pic.twitter.com/Z5fBkfocYo
— Susanne Auer 🇺 (@AuerSusan) January 11, 2019
Musk believes that the engine will be ready to fire in the next month, but he also said the exact same thing in December, so whether the rocket will be fired in February is anybody’s guess. SpaceX reportedly plans to launch the starship to suborbital heights to prove the viability of its systems. The company also reportedly plans to replace their current Falcon and Falcon Heavy rockets with this starship model in the near future, making the success of the hopper extremely important to the company.