Elon Musk, the billionaire and SpaceX founder, delivered an update on Starship, a powerful rocket that some predict would alter the space business in ways that many can't yet comprehend, on Thursday night at a launch facility in Boca Chica, Texas. That lack of inventiveness may represent a challenge for other industry participants.
"I feel at this point highly confident that we will get to orbit this year," Musk remarked, referring to the Starship model.
Credit: Patrick Pleul, Getty Images
During Musk's address, the rocket was on display at Starbase, its testing facility. Starship is just under 400 feet (120 meters) tall atop its massive rocket, Super Heavy. This makes it taller than the Saturn V, a 363-foot-tall NASA rocket used for Apollo lunar missions in the 1960s and 1970s, which is presently the highest operational rocket ever utilized. The starship is designed to be totally reusable and capable of transporting over 100 tons to Mars and the Moon.
"Fully reusable Starship and Super Heavy systems are projected to enable previously unimaginable space-based operations," SpaceX notes in the Starship user handbook.
A starship would be a significant step toward SpaceX's aim of bringing life to other planets. The large cargo capacity of the rocket, along with its reusability, might radically alter the economics of launching people and stuff into space.
Musk's lecture concentrated on Starship's technological advancements. He remained tight-lipped about what initiatives the corporation could be working on.
"There will be some upcoming announcements that I believe people will be quite excited about," he stated. "A large number of new consumers will want to utilize Starship. I don't want to compete with them. They'll make their own announcements."