The body of the orbital prototype of the SpaceX Starship is coming together. There are still seven Raptor engines to be built and added and a lot of Starhopper testing before the orbital Starship starts test flights.
In January, Elon Musk tweeted that the first orbital Starship upper stage prototype should be completed by June 2019.
Elon Musk has targeted the Super Heavy Starship to reach orbit by 2020. A few months ago, Elon had said the odds of making it to orbit by 2020 are at least 60% and rising rapidly. The Starship upper might be able to reach orbit without payload.
Nextbigfuture believes reaching orbit with the Starhopper will be late in 2020 or 2021. If the Starhopper was making more progress with hop tests and new Raptor engine production then SpaceX might reach orbit sooner.
Although the body of the orbital Starship is coming together, the months of Starhops and flying the Starhopper higher and higher has not happened. A large number of Raptor engines are not built. It seems that there is quite a bit of work with the engines as the single Raptor engine in Starhopper was uninstalled.
Yes, but single stage to orbit with no payload is pointless. Add Super Heavy rocket booster & orbital payload is gigantic. Only need booster on Earth, due to deep gravity well & thick atmosphere. Starship alone on moons & Mars.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 22, 2018
SpaceX's Starship Orbital Prototype being stacked at Boca Chica.
— Chris B – NSF (@NASASpaceflight) May 9, 2019
Will you still be doing a presentation soon with Starship updates 🤔🚀
— Everyday Astronaut (@Erdayastronaut) May 10, 2019
to rephrase, @elonmusk thinks that the chances of a full-up Starship/Super Heavy (BFR) launch making it to orbit by 2020 are at least 60% and "rising rapidly", thanks to the recent strategic shift towards stainless steel and a regeneratively-cooled hot metal structure 😀 https://t.co/wQB2dVtXXV
— Eric Ralph (@13ericralph31) December 27, 2018
SOURCES- Twitter, Elon Musk, SpaceX
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com