The construction of the initial test article—the “Starship test flight rocket” “test hopper,” “Starship Hopper” or “Starhopper” —was begun in early December 2018 and the external frame and skin was complete by 10 January 2019. Constructed outside in the open on a SpaceX property just two miles (3.2 km) from Boca Chica Beach in South Texas, the external body of the rocket rapidly came together in less than six weeks. Originally thought by watchers of construction at the SpaceX South Texas Launch Site to be the initial construction of a large water tower, the stainless steel vehicle was built by welders and construction workers in more of a shipyard form of construction than traditional aerospace manufacturing. The full Starhopper vehicle is 9 meters (30 ft) in diameter and was originally 39 meters (128 ft) tall in January 2019. Subsequent wind damage to the nose cone of the vehicle resulted in a SpaceX decision to scrap the nose section, and fly the low-velocity hopper tests with no nose cone, resulting in a much shorter test vehicle.
Video Credit: SpaceX