Speaking on August 28th, CEO Elon Musk says that SpaceX’s first Starship flight test(s) could occur as early as October 2019, in line with a late-July estimate that pegged the milestone at 2-3 months out.
Under construction in Cocoa, Florida and Boca Chica, Texas, SpaceX’s duo of orbital-class Starship prototypes have made immense progress in the last two or so months, part of a (hopefully friendly) internal competition to be first to flight and first to orbit. Elon Musk has been planning to present an updated overview on the next-generation SpaceX launch vehicle, originally expected in August before a variety of factors pushed it into September. Musk says that presentation is now scheduled no earlier than (NET) September 28th.
Musk has previously described the highly-anticipated update as a technical overview of the decision-making process that has lead SpaceX to replace Starship’s composite design with stainless steel, among many other changes the rocket has undergone in the last 6-12 months. Aside from the obvious, Musk recently revealed that Starship’s fins/legs/wings also had to be modified from the tripod fin/canard setup shown in SpaceX’s September 2018 design update.
The first of Starship Mk1’s (Texas) landing fins or canards arrived in Boca Chica in mid-August, followed soon after by what appeared to be header tanks (smaller internal tanks for landing propellant), and what has been described as “the guts of Starship”. Although SpaceX’s Starship Mk2 (Cocoa, FL) team was forced to pause work for several days as a result of the incoming Hurricane Dorian, work in Texas has proceeded unabated and continues around the clock with two or three shifts.