SpaceX’s new Starship hopper, a prototype of the spacecraft that could one day take people to Mars, will need weeks of repairs after it was toppled by strong winds at the company’s private launch site in Boca Chica, Texas, according to a tweet by CEO Elon Musk.
Images posted online Wednesday show the stainless steel vehicle tipped over and laying sideways on the ground. Musk said 50 mph wind gusts broke the rocket’s mooring blocks late Tuesday night, prompting the its top part to tip sideways. Musk said the prototype will need “weeks” of repairs before SpaceX can proceed with planned test launches.
The Starship Hopper prototype looks slightly different than the one SpaceX plans to use on actual missions. The Hopper prototype has the same 30-foot diameter as the future Starship, but is shorter, according to Musk.
Starship used to be known as the BFR. The spacecraft consists of a Super Heavy rocket booster and a spacecraft, the Starship, which SpaceX hopes will one day carry cargo and space tourists — including Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, who was announced last year as SpaceX’s first paying lunar passenger—to the cosmos. Maezawa said he plans to invite a group of artists on that mission, which could happen as early as 2023.