Elon Musk Wants to Put First SpaceX Mars Starship in Orbit in Six Months

Elon Musk has said that his Starship spacecraft – which is designed to carry people to the moon and Mars – will begin orbital test flights in less than two months. The SpaceX CEO made the comments during an evening presentation at Space X’s facility in Boca Chica, Texas, with the gigantic shiny spacecraft lit up in the background.

Musk first revealed plans for the rocket in 2016, updating them and calling the craft the Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) in 2017. Last year, he revised the design again and changed the rocket’s name to Starship. It is 118 meters tall and apparently capable of carrying about 100 people to the moon or Mars.

SpaceX has said that the rocket will carry eight artists around the moon in 2020, with tickets paid for by Yusaku Maezawa, a billionaire and art curator who founded Japan’s largest online clothing retailer. Maezawa says he will go along too.

But the end game for Musk still appears to be Mars. Ahead of the presentation, he tweeted that the Starship “will allow us to inhabit other worlds.”

The prospect of “being a space-going civilization and being out there among the stars makes me [and] many people glad to be alive,” Musk said at the event.

The “critical breakthrough” that is needed to achieve this, he said, is to make space travel as practical as air travel by creating a “rapidly reusable orbital rocket.” Starship is intended to fulfill this criterion. Musk said that he plans for Starship to fly to 65,000 feet and then land back on Earth within the next “one to two months.”

SpaceX says Starship “will be the most powerful rocket in history, capable of carrying humans to the Moon, Mars, and beyond”, and “provide affordable delivery of significant quantities of cargo and people, essential for building Moon bases and Mars cities.”

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