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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

SpaceX's giant rocket ship was blown over and damaged by powerful winds in Texas --

• Business Insider - Dave Mosher

An illustration of SpaceX's "test hopper," an experimental stainless-steel ship. Though it won't launch into space, the vehicle will help Elon Musk's rocket company work on a large and similar Starship spacecraft for reaching Mars.

Elon Musk's rocket company, SpaceX, has built a prototype of a stainless-steel rocket ship in southern Texas in the US.

Locals who live near the site reported on Wednesday morning that the vehicle, known as the "test hopper," was blown over by powerful gusts of wind.

Musk and SpaceX confirmed those reports early Wednesday morning via Twitter, saying the damage will take weeks to repair.

The test hopper is a squat version of a full-scale Starship: a spaceship that's being designed to send people to Mars.

Musk said the test hopper could launch in Texas in four to eight weeks, or nearly a year ahead of schedule.

Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, said that the top section of his company's shiny new prototype of a giant rocket was blown over by powerful gusts of wind overnight.

"I just heard," he tweeted on Wednesday morning, confirming local on-the-ground reports that the vehicle was no longer vertical. "50 mph [80 kph] winds broke the mooring blocks late last night & fairing was blown over. Will take a few weeks to repair."

Chris Bergin, the managing editor of NASASpaceFlight.com, posted an image on Twitter of the damage. The photo, taken by a user named BocaChicaGal, shows the top half of the vehicle crumpled and broken open at the top.

"Whoops. Starship Hopper nosecone has been blown over in high winds," Bergin said of the picture.

Whoops. Starship Hopper nosecone has been blown over in high winds.

????NSF's BocaChicaGal https://t.co/liIk970sm5 pic.twitter.com/6rgGtZmAE2

— Chris B - NSF (@NASASpaceflight) January 23, 2019

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