Starbase is how the private space company calls that little place in Boca Chica from where the Starship prototypes were launched all year long. It’s also the place, SpaceX says, from where the future exploration of Mars, with actual humans sent there, will begin.
The video released by Musk’s business shows various instances of the Starship, inside the hangars there and torn apart, or on the launch pad, and even in the air, performing the required maneuvers to bring it back down safely. Not something we haven’t seen before, but a montage worth a quick look.
The biggest test for the Starbase is however yet to take place. That will be the launch of the Orbital, the biggest, meanest and most capable incarnation of the rocket so far, the one that will actually make an attempt to reach orbit.
There are still hopes the launch will take place by the end of the year, but it’s unclear what will happen after that. SpaceX calls the Texas facility the gateway to Mars, but it’s hard to determine at this time if the place could actually support a launch to the neighboring planet.
The place comprises the Build Site, the place where Starships are put together, comprising three manufacturing tents, as they call them, several bays to test the finished components, and the launch complex with two launch sites for suborbital and orbital flight. A complete guide of the place and what it contains can be found here.
The second video shows what we’re told is the first 3D map of the area.