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Elon Musk gives update on SpaceX’s Starship

spaceX starship

Elon Musk has provided an update on the design and development of SpaceX’s Starship. Musk says the rocket could reach orbit within six months.

SpaceX’s Starship and Super Heavy launch vehicle is a reusable transportation system designed to carry crew and cargo to orbit, the Moon, and Mars.

Over the weekend, Elon Musk called a press conference at a SpaceX launch facility in Boca Chica, Texas. “This is the most inspiring thing I’ve ever seen,” he said.

The event took place on September 28, 11 years since SpaceX first made it to orbit. Musk took the audience through the construction history of SpaceX, also detailing some Starship specifics.

Update on SpaceX’s Starship and Super Heavy

Starhopper, a prototype vehicle with a single Raptor engine, has completed two low-altitude flights.

The next test will take place in one to two months and involves getting the Mk1 prototype, which has three Raptor engines, to an altitude of approximately 12 miles.

Another prototype, Mk2, is being built at SpaceX in Florida, while an Mk3 prototype will begin construction at Boca Chica “in about a month”, according to Musk.

“This is gonna sound totally nuts, but I think we want to try to reach orbit [1,200 miles] in less than six months,” Musk said.

Elon Musk reveals plans to reach orbit in six months

“I think we could potentially see people flying next year, if we get to orbit in about six months.”

He also said the orbital vehicle could be an Mk4 or Mk5 prototype.

“This is quite a new approach to controlling a rocket,” Musk said. “Much more akin to a skydiver than a plane. It will look totally nuts to see that thing land.”

On Super Heavy, Musk said it will feature up to 37 Raptor engines and will have twice as much thrust as the most powerful rocket ever built, NASA’s Saturn V.

“We could potentially see people flying next year”

“The critical breakthrough that’s needed for us to become a spacefaring civilization is to make space travel like air travel,” Musk said. “A rapidly reusable rocket is basically the holy grail of space.”

“I think we should do our very best to become a multiplanet species, and we should do it now,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, Virgin Galactic is becoming the world’s first publicly traded commercial space tourism company, merging with Social Capital Hedosophia to create a new company called Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc.

Images: SpaceX

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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