If you haven’t been to SpaceX’s Starbase facility near Brownsville, Texas, it is truly a mesmerizing place. Very few places have rockets this size on display, and it looks like SpaceX will share this love with the community.
It looks like Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport will be getting its very own Starship prototype if Elon Musk is serious. It started with a harmless tweet to show off SpaceX’s new addition to the Starbase rocket garden, Ship 22.
We haven’t talked much about the different prototypes being built down there, but SpaceX has still been busy iterating on its design. Ship 22 was a fully built Starship vehicle with a heat shield and four aerodynamic flaps. Rumors had it ready to fly in case Ship 20 was damaged during testing; however, it looks like it has been put into early retirement.
It joined Booster 2, SN15, and SN16 in the now pretty crowded rocket garden. In reply to a request to send a prototype to one of the neighboring cities, SpaceX’s CEO Elon Musk said sure and asked where to send it.
The Brownsville South Padre Airport took Elon up on his offer and even set aside a spot in front of the terminal building. The display would be just south of the airport’s parking lot next to what seems like a new road called Starship Road, which seems perfect to me. Elon seemed to agree as he replied, saying they would send one over.
Moving this massive rocket might be a feat of cooperation between agencies as Starship is designed to move vertically and slowly. Hopefully, this is the first of many Starships to be put on public display for more to see without needing to make the long drive to Starbase.