SpaceX CEO Elon Musk on Tuesday gave a timeline for the orbital launch of Starship, which is being developed and tested at the company’s Boca Chica launch facility in Texas.
What Happened: When one of Musk’s Twitter followers shared a picture of the Starship and asked him when an orbital launch is likely, the world’s richest person said a “successful” orbital flight is likely between one and 12 months from now.
The question was triggered by Musk’s own tweet, in which he shared a CNBC video entitled “Why Starship is the Holy Grail For SpaceX.” Musk commended the video, calling it a “good CNBC piece on SpaceX & Starship.”
Why It's Important: The Starship spacecraft and super heavy rocket, collectively called Starship, is a fully reusable system to transport both crew and cargo to Earth’s orbit, the Moon and Mars. Last month, the Starship experienced a mishap, as booster 7 made of Raptor engines exploded. The SpaceX CEO — who also heads Tesla, Inc. TSLA — allayed concerns and said the damages were only minor and an orbital flight would start in August.
Musk’s most recent update has now pushed forward the timeline by anywhere between one and 12 months. He, however, had laid emphasis on it being successful.
Starship is key to realizing Musk’s vision of making human life multi-planetary. The tech entrepreneur expects Starship to do a loop around the Moon in 2023 and land on Mars by 2026. In April 2021, NASA awarded SpaceX a $2.9 billion fixed-price contract to transport the next two American astronauts to the lunar surface.
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