Mission to Mars: Elon Musk shares photo of Starship, says will ‘soon make these real’
Space-X founder Elon Musk has shared a photo of Starship, the massive, next-generation rocket his company is developing to launch cargo and people on missions to the moon and Mars, after he announced they have begun building a launchpad in Florida.
"We will soon make these real," Musk tweeted on Saturday, a day after announcing SpaceX has started construction on an orbital launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
"Construction of Starship orbital launch pad at the Cape has begun," Musk tweeted on Friday.
According to a CNBC report on Friday, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) confirmed SpaceX is “within the rights of their lease agreement to make launch infrastructure improvements within the boundaries of the pad”. The American space agency has said it is not providing funds for the Starship launchpad.
The orbital tests for the new spacecraft is a major part of Elon Musk and SpaceX’s plans for the future of space travel and the company's ultimate goal is to launch an uncrewed mission to Mars in 2024 and human spaceflight to the Red Planet in 2026.
According to reports, the Starship design is meant to be used for both suborbital flights on Earth and for deep-space missions. They also say Starship will be a next-generation fully reusable rocket capable of carrying up to 100 people to Mars.
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Being reusable, the Starship can be re-filled with propellant after returning from space and be ready to launch again in a short period of time—reducing the cost of the entire enterprise.
The SpaceX prototype of its Starship SN11, which is being designed for an eventual trip to Mars, crashed during a test landing attempt in March.
In August, SpaceX said in filings with the Federal Communications Commission it intends to use its Starship rocket as the primary vehicle to deliver spacecraft into orbit.
Elon Musk has spoken about his dream of building cities on Mars and said settling humans on other planets could preserve civilisation if Earth were to experience a cataclysm. "History is going to bifurcate along two directions. One path is we stay on Earth forever, and then there will be some eventual extinction event," Musk said in 2016.