SpaceX plans to launch Starship's first commercial flight in 2021
SpaceX introduced the launch system as the Big Falcon Rocket or BFR until its upper stage was renamed to Starship and its rocket booster to Super Heavy. Two competing builds are currently undergoing development in Texas and in Florida, and it’s possible that the final spacecraft will combine the best solutions the two teams can come up with.
Although there might be differences between the two builds, both groups are designing a vehicle that can carry 20 metric tons to geostationary orbit and over 100 metric tons to Low Earth Orbit. SpaceX ultimately plans to use the SpaceX-Super Heavy combo to bring payloads to the moon and Mars, though it’s also looking to offer quick point-to-point trips on Earth aboard the vehicle.
Before any of that can happen, SpaceX has to put the launch system through more rigorous testing. Hofeller said it’s doing more hop tests in the coming months and that the company’s goal is “to get orbital as quickly as possible, potentially even this year, with the full stack operational by the end of next year and then customers in early 2021.”