Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, said on Thursday that the maiden orbital flight of his colossal Starship — the world’s most powerful rocket ever constructed — might happen in a month or two.
Despite the fact that he expects setbacks, he believes Starship will reach orbit before the end of the year.
While standing alongside the 390-foot (119-meter) rocket at SpaceX’s Texas spaceport, Musk gave his first big Starship update in over two years. “Let’s make this real!” he exhorted the late-night gathering.
“This is some very bizarre stuff,” he remarked. “In fact, it’s difficult to believe it’s true.”
NASA intends to deploy people on the moon with the completely reusable Starship as early as 2025. Meanwhile, Musk plans to send a fleet of Starships to Mars to build a metropolis and transport supplies and people.
For the time being, the maiden missions will deliver Musk’s Starlink internet satellites into orbit.
“There will definitely be a few snags along the way,” he added, “but we want to iron things out with satellite trips and test missions” before boarding passengers.
The first-stage booster for SpaceX’s Super Heavy rocket has yet to launch. However, following a sequence of spectacular explosions, the futuristic, bullet-shaped steel Starship — sitting on top and functioning as the upper stage — successfully launched and landed on its own last May. The rocketship flew for around 6 miles (10 kilometers).
Before moving on to the next step of Starship’s development, SpaceX needs to get certification from the Federal Aviation Administration. Musk stated that he anticipates receiving approval in March and that the rocket should be ready to launch by then. He stated that the debut will be in the following several months.
Musk said Starship launches might be moved to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida if the FAA requests more information about potential environmental concerns or if litigation arise. However, he pointed out that this would put the first orbital launch back by more than a year.
The full-size Starships are huge, standing higher than NASA’s previous and current moon rockets and possessing roughly double the liftoff force.
Starships might eventually launch from floating ocean platforms anywhere in the planet, Musk claimed, including Cape Canaveral in Florida and the southern edge of Texas at Boca Chica. He anticipates Starships launching three times a day — “rapid reusability” — with refueling stations in orbit for lengthier journeys such as to Mars. According to him, the first replenishment test might take place before the end of next year.
Musk thinks that launching a Starship will cost less than $10 million — maybe as little as a few million dollars if the flight rate is high enough. By modern space standards, he described it as “crazy low” and “ridiculously excellent.”
One private client has already signed on with Starship: a Japanese entrepreneur who has purchased a flight around the moon and intends to take a dozen artists with him. Musk suggested that others may be interested in purchasing excursions, promising that more information will be arriving in the future.
SpaceX had previously depended on its much smaller Falcon rockets to carry satellites, people, and supplies to the International Space Station for NASA. Its first private flight, which was purchased by a millionaire, took place in September of last year. Another trip to the space station is scheduled by the end of March, with three businessmen each paying $55 million.