What the SpaceX Mirror Polished Stainless Steel Starship Will Look Like

William Falconer-Beach has rendered some images of the SpaceX Starship with a mirror polished stainless steel body.

Elon Musk has reported that SpaceX is building the body of the Starship out of stainless steel and that it will be polished to a mirror finish.

A hopper version of the Starship should have its first test flights by April 2019. The Super Heavy should reach orbit in 2020.

This vehicle will be completely reusable and will be able to carry 100 tons to low earth orbit with each launch.

UPDATE: The body and nose cone of the hopper demo version of the SpaceX Starship will be assembled within days.

110 thoughts on “What the SpaceX Mirror Polished Stainless Steel Starship Will Look Like”

  1. It just took longer than we thought. But the spacesuits must have lightning bolts on the chest.

    Seriously–there is a glare hazard…

  2. ” Having said that, I do think the grass we see is OUTSIDE the fence, and hence not relevant. ”

    Way to bury the lede…

  3. Atmospheric scoops are just about at the top of the my list of (space) tech that needs to be tried out, soon.

  4. The point about the long grass is not that it isn’t pretty enough.
    The point is that a construction site where the ground is kept clear and the grass mowed is a construction site where people can see what is on the ground, a site where dropped tools don’t get lost for 5 minutes. A site where people can work faster and more efficiently.

    Letting the vegetation grow long enough to negatively affect the work is a sign of being pennywise and pound foolish. Of skipping the basics and getting caught out in the long run.

    Having said that, I do think the grass we see is OUTSIDE the fence, and hence not relevant.

  5. The mirror finish is how you keep the throat of the wormhole open. It’s what we’ve been missing this whole time! Everything looks backwards in a mirror = negative mass! 😛

  6. Buck Rogers is jelly. It might look like a giant stainless dil, butt have you seen Blue Orgins feathered phallus?

  7. Just you wait, after they light the oven that thing will clearly be the highest producing manufacturer of “pickle bread”.
    A man with a very particular palette indeed! Godspeed!
    Where does he get all the ”Dill dough” someone queried?

  8. I really, really want a vuvuzela hooked up to an air can and a fake vocal tract that screams “FAIL!!!” at about 180 dB…

  9. ” if they would’ve never won the CRS (Commercial “Resupply Services) contract ” <– But they did win it, above all possible competitors. It was no giveaway or handout. What was your pretended to point?

    “NewSpace” is only here in spite of “Old Space”.

  10. ” Bottom wings are still pointing the wrong direction (downward). ” <– You have this one more shot to get this through your thick skull before I start referring to you as a moron. They are articulated and point up when they need to.

    This has been pointed out to you before, I think.

  11. honestly, without a cloaking device or stealth device what better way to hide a ship than make it reflective enough to reflect the stars…If we were to encounter an alien species that wanted to destroy our ship that split second of confusion created by a reflective ship might by the crew time to run or attack.

  12. It’s even *more* impressive that they can do this stuff in tents and open fields (!). Sends a message about robustness. Plus saves tons of time not waiting for buildings to be built (which I’m sure will be done eventually).

  13. Launched to LEO (low earth orbit) as usual; then refueled in LEO using tanker-“starships”; then sent directly to the surface of Mars.
    Return trip entails refueling on Mars, then a direct return to earth without needing a booster.

  14. Someone put this man in charge of something, stat!!

    Seriously tho, why does no one ever bring this up?? I’ve thought this ever since the 2016 IAC presentation. My mind keeps going back to it every time I read about the HD ship displays throughout the Expanse series.

  15. I’m not following you on this one skipper… How exactly would that help anything?? I’m not saying you’re wrong, I’m probably just picturing something completely different in my minds ‘lazy’ third eye… Care to elaborate a lil more??

  16. After all, SpaceX would have probably never been able to get Falcon 9 off the design table, or have done much of anything else for that matter, if they would’ve never won the CRS (Commercial Resupply Services) contract, along with Orbital Sciences (later Orbital ATK and now Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems) way back in 2008. SpaceX had only launch 4 flights by that time, all with the Falcon 1. 3/4 were failures, only the last Falcon 1 made it to orbit, and Elon had pretty much went for broke to launch that one. Luckily NASA had faith in our hero and awarded him with a $1.6 billion contact to haul cargo to everyone’s favorite flying science lab. Without that money, I highly doubt I’d be setting here wearing my semi-flat billed SpaceX hat, looking at my SpaceX ‘Remove Before Flight’ keychain, and diving into the history of my favorite rocket company like the good lil fanboy I am… But give credit were it’s due. ‘New Space’ wouldn’t be here without ‘Old Space’, no matter what your feelings are towards those old farts!! (just for the record, I’m just as much a fanboy of NASA too!!)

  17. Steal bids away? What exactly is NASA bidding on?? I think you’ve got NASA confused with other launch providers, such as ULA (United Launch Alliance, a 50-50 partnership between Lockheed Martin & Boeing), Arianespace (main launch provider for ESA), Antrix Corporation (commercial side of ISRO), among many others… SpaceX is competiting against these other companies to win bids and contracts PROVIDED by NASA (the US Air Force, DoD, and many other government and nongovernment agencies), not trying to win them AWAY from NASA…

  18. A 100 ton to low earth orbit would be about four times what the Space Shuttleccoukd deliver. Musk certainly thinks big..

  19. Well as expected it is shiny…

    Bottom wings are still pointing the wrong direction (downward). Should be pointing upward. Musk says that the bottom facing wings will be actively cooled by boiling off extra propellant. Seems like this could be fixed by simply attaching the bottom two wings at the bottom and angling them up a bit so that they end well short of the center of mass of the ship. There shouldn’t be a real need to have three fins pointing all the way out to survive a landing.

  20. It’s a branding nightmare for their marketing department. I guess you carry a big SpaceX tarp and some bungy cords with the SpaceX logo on it for those “SpaceX on Moon, Mars … type shots. Maybe the launch feeds than superimpose the SpaceX logo. In any case the mirror finish pretty much makes in invisible at the right perspectives. Maybe an interesting military application – but the shape is not a stealthy one. Also, when are we going to start phasing down the window depiction? Windows are expensive and points of failure. Flexible OLED 100 inch displays inside, tiny camera outside … similar (but 2d) look for the passengers …

  21. You load a hundred tons, what do you get? 
    Another day’s orbit and a million in net 
    Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I want to go 
    I know my goal’s with the Spacex corps

  22. Nah, your brain is flat. The earth is flat, what a joke. A child knows what tests to run to disprove that. You don’t have to go to space to figure that one out. Just have to have some minor intelligence, which someone seems to be lacking of……

  23. Space x if full of krap. Worst than nasa, well, just as bad. The earth is flat. These nasa and space x people are liars.

  24. It’s plenty polished already. There’s a difference between “polished” and “being a 100% perfect cylindrical optical mirror”. Even the tiniest of distortions will create visible a distortion in the reflected image.

    SpaceX’s goal is to make rockets, not mirrors. The rendering is overly simplistic and naive.

    Also: I expect rainbow-coloured oxide layers to form on the rocket in key areas from reentry (only on the full-sized rocket, not on the hopper vehicle). Do a google image search for “stainless steel weld” to see what it looks like after stainless gets really hot in an environment that contains oxygen.

  25. Go Elon Musk… Hoping for your plan in Mars don’t forget to bring the models S3XY and the Semi also… And the pickup…

  26. Photos get flagged for moderation. Will probably reappear later. Links generally work, but maybe image links also get flagged. You can add spaces to bypass the link detection.

    Overall, I’d say this commenting system isn’t bad. Certainly much better than the last one (some might say more than one).

  27. He’s not trying to impress. He’s trying to build a test vehicle cheap. Impressing people takes money which he’s trying to save on a vehicle that isn’t going to do anything except hop up a few hundred feet and back down.

  28. This one is built like this because it is just a hopper test craft. The actual ship will be built inside a building to much higher standards.

  29. In nearly identical ships, but those ships are only for refueling and will he no cargo. This was actually in the syllabus.

  30. Elon knows he doesn’t have enough money to burn to do things the stupid way… that’s why it’s reusable…

  31. So anyone else seeing this “in the field” slant? Like SpaceX is saying we have the tech and we can do it now, texas, moon, asteroid, space, mars, forget the clean rooms NASA kinda attitude?

  32. The only thing missing is a worm hole to jump to another galaxy…. wondering if the polished finish helps to keep it looking spiffy between reuses?

  33. So anyone else seeing this “in the field / in your face” slant? Like SpaceX is saying we have the tech and we can do it now, Texas, moon, asteroid, space, mars, forget the clean rooms NASA kinda attitude? Just PR?

  34. The unmowed grass OUTSIDE of the construction site?
    Are you psychotic?
    Nevermind that there are cacti there and those get pretty big and hard to “mow”.

  35. Mat… I see he’s finally seen st4r w4rs movies. In a few more designs it will look like the nabo0 royal (starship). Hmmmnn may will. —Imagine cheesy y0da voice—. May the f0rce be with him.

  36. There’s a reason why this will be polished stainless steel. For the same reason Tesla cars are models S.3.X.Y.

  37. It is obvious you focus on the wrong things! That is why Elon is so successful, and you are not running billion- dollar companies.

  38. I would post some better renders, but any comment with an image linked or attached is getting stripped and is gone after I reload the page.

    This comment systems sucks.

  39. Musk plans to make them refuelable while in space, similar to refueling military aircraft. So they will be able to land with just as much cargo as they can launch, maybe even more.

  40. I have worked construction site like that one for 52 years. The unmowed grass does not impress me. Nor the trucks and dirt. Don’t get me wrong Elon Musk is the greatest  entrepreneur we have had in 200 years. That construction site just does not impress me in the least.

  41. It’s going to be all some 300-series stainless steel, with (cryo) liquid methane cooling on the windward side:

  42. Probably best like a white sponge ceramic, almost like space shuttle but with a hardened titanium embedded metal for strength. But still a sponge like material to cool off landing craft while entering atmosphere.

  43. What’s with the black? I thought the polished stainless steel was supposed to be on the hot side, cooled with liquid methane inside.

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