SpaceX's Starship SN20 rolls out to launch pad ahead of 1st orbital test flight

SpaceX's next Starship version was launched to the pad on Thursday, August 5, as part of its ambitious orbital test.The Starship prototype, known by SN20, left Boca Chica, South Texas, to join the Super Heavy first stage booster, which arrived at the launch pad two days earlier.SpaceX founder Elon Musk has yet to comment on Twitter. However, the live event was broadcast as SpaceX prepares for its new mission. SpaceX expects to fly the mission within the next few weeks, depending on regulatory and technical progress.Video: SpaceX's Starship SN20 and a fuel tank rollout to the launch sitePhotos: SpaceX launches a super heavy rocket from the launch standSpaceX's Starship SN20 prototype has reached its launch site. Image credit:, via YouTubeThe Booster 4, which is 230 feet tall (70m) will soon undergo a series engine and pressurization tests. SN20 will be sent round the world if Booster 4 passes its trials. It is not yet known when the rocket will launch. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is currently conducting an environmental review of Starship’s launch operations and we don’t know when it will be completed.Booster 4 will splash down in the Gulf of Mexico approximately 20 miles (32 km) from launch. SN20 will orbit the Earth, complete one circuit, and then descend in the Pacific Ocean approximately 90 minutes after liftoff. It is located near Kauai, Hawaii.NASA has selected Starship to be the crewed landing vehicle for its Artemis program. It plans to send humans to the moon in 2020. SpaceX has designed Starship, a fully-reusable, two-stage transport system that SpaceX will use to ferry cargo and passengers to Mars, the moon and other destinations in our solar system.SN20, which is shorthand for "Serial Number. 20") is the latest of a series launching prototypes for Starship. SN15, a three-engine vehicle with three engines, flew to a maximum altitude (10 km) in May before safely landing on Earth.Musk stated that the final Starship spacecraft will be equipped with six Raptor engines and that the final Super Heavy version will likely have 32 Raptor engine. The top stage measures 165 feet (50m) high and is sometimes called Starship.Follow Elizabeth Howell @howellspace. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @Spacedotcom