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Elon Musk is prototyping his next Starship in the droid junkyard on Tatooine

By Elizabeth Rayne
SpaceX Starship prototype

SpaceX has been dong things in a galaxy far, far away — or at least building a spacecraft from random droid parts. So Elon Musk hasn’t been doing that literally, but he did recently tweet it (below) with the caption “Droid Junkyard, Tatooine” to get the internet excited about his upcoming Starship Mk1. Starhopper, its predecessor, was retired after a successful launch. Musk has now shared the even more powerful Mk1 rising against a sci-fi sunset through the window of a building full of spare parts. So it could be Luke Skywalker’s home planet.

Disclaimer: this is not actually a Star Wars set or even the remains of one. It’s Musk’s facility near Boca Chica, Texas, which should seriously be considered for a Star Wars set.

Musk tweeted another space-age photo (below), captioned “Area 51 of Area 51.” There is no space geek who can’t appreciate the futuretech mogul’s sense of humor. What you’re actually looking at is a closeup of a ring-shaped section of MK1 being lowered onto the rest of its body. This pic kind of makes the spacecraft look like a giant droid itself.

If you thought Starhopper was blasting into the future, it’s nothing compared to Mk1 and its co-prototype currently being worked on at the SpaceX facility in Florida, Mk2 (an alternate proto that Musk believes will improve Starship’s final design). Starhopper had just one raptor engine and stayed within a few hundred feet of the surface. Impressive, sure. You might take back that thought when you realize that Mk1 and Mk2 will be equipped with at least 3 Raptors.

Needless to say, triple the superpowered engines are going to make these prototypes shoot much higher.

SpaceX will launch both protos on test flights way before Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters. Try next month. Musk has high hopes — literally — for them, as he tweeted at the end of last month (below). He’s waiting to see them zoom 12 miles into the sky, and if that’s successful, he’s going to go all out and try for an orbital attempt.

When the Starship is ready to send humans over to Mars and possibly start colonizing the Red Planet, it will come fully loaded with six Raptors and launch on a gargantuan SpaceX Super Heavy rocket, powered by 35 Raptors, but more might be added if it needs a boost. 100 people brave enough to go live on another planet will fit inside the Starship.

Musk will give a Starship design update on the 28th, so keep your Twitter notifications on.