SpaceX SN8 Flight
Credit: Ron Frazier CC BY 2.0

Starship is a heavy-lift rocket manufactured by SpaceX. It is designed to take humans to the Moon and to Mars. It is still in its testing phase but is expected to replace the Falcon rockets and Dragon spacecraft.

Starship consists of two stages: a booster stage (called 'Super Heavy') and a second stage (also known as 'Starship'). The second stage is for carrying crews and cargo on long journeys. Both stages are intended to be fully reusable. Starship uses Raptor engines which are powered by liquid oxygen and methane fuel. 

Starship is 120 m tall - that's over 25 m taller than the Big Ben Clock Tower in London. It will have a mass of 5000 tonnes when fully loaded - that's about as heavy as 1000 elephants!

SpaceX began testing the Starship launch and landing systems in 2019, beginning with a low-altitude test vehicle called 'Starhopper'. The first few launch tests of the larger high-altitude vehicles were successful. However, the landings have been more challenging and have all ended with the vehicle crashing and/or exploding. SpaceX's testing philosophy is "test, fly, fail, fix, repeat", so they see these setbacks as part of the mission's progress.