So far, Spacex has made and destroyed/launched Starhopper,MK1-MK4, and SN1-SN10. They also have SN11 on the launchpad and BN1,BN2, and SN15-SN20 under construction. What will be the final Starship Prototype Spacex makes?

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    $\begingroup$ The one that works perfectly, or probably has one small problem. No way to know yet. $\endgroup$ Mar 12 '21 at 17:50
  • $\begingroup$ Which do you mean? Do you mean the upper stage, the booster or both? $\endgroup$
    – Saturn 5
    Mar 15 '21 at 16:46

The one that achieves all the goals SpaceX has set for the prototype program.

We don't know which goals those are, they have not been publicly disclosed. Even if we did know, we wouldn't know which prototype achieves those goals, because the whole point of prototypes is that you don't know whether they will work – that's why you build them in the first place.

Since we don't know what the goals of the prototype program are, and not even SpaceX knows how many prototypes they will need, literally nobody knows the answer to the question.

SpaceX started building SN12–14, but then later realized it doesn't make sense to test them and scrapped them again. SpaceX also built Mk I for flight testing, but that didn't work out either. Clearly, not even SpaceX knows what prototypes they need.

  • $\begingroup$ What are those goals they want to meet? $\endgroup$
    – Saturn 5
    Mar 15 '21 at 16:53
  • $\begingroup$ I answer that question in the second sentence. $\endgroup$ Mar 15 '21 at 16:54
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    $\begingroup$ I would submit that at this stage they don't even have the questions figured out yet. We're still years away from having human beings on these vessels, and when that starts approaching a lot of things are going to get shifted around. There's no articulation for payload delivery, only minimal onboard power production...what we're seeing right now are engine and aero tests, which are only a small (but super-important) part of the entire system. $\endgroup$ Mar 15 '21 at 20:35
  • $\begingroup$ They have said they will launch civilians to the Moon in 2023. I am guessing the will launch astronauts before civilians. How could they still not have the questions figured out> $\endgroup$
    – Saturn 5
    Mar 19 '21 at 15:28
  • $\begingroup$ @Saturn5: First off, Elon time is not real time. You might be shocked to learn that sometimes people make predictions that later turn out not to be true. Secondly, it is quite likely that #dearMoon is going to happen before Artemis 2. Thirdly, it is not necessarily a given that Starship will launch and/or land with crew on board. They could launch the crew on Dragon and transfer them to Starship in orbit, then do the reverse when they come back. Fourth, Elon Musk has said that he wants hundreds of successful cargo flights before they put crew on board. At the moment, SpaceX is launching … $\endgroup$ Mar 19 '21 at 15:34

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