ELON Musk says his Starship rocket could fly to Mars in just over three years.
A manned voyage with skill astronauts on board could follow soon after, if the billionaire space titan’s dreams come true.
Musk’s SpaceX has been working on the Starship for years.
It’s a reusable rocket-and-spacecraft that will be capable of long-distance journeys across the near Solar System.
And an uncrewed mission could take place as soon as 2024.
“I think we have a fighting chance of making that second Mars transfer window,” said Musk, speaking at the International Mars Society Convention.
Musk is referring to one of the rare launch windows for travelling to Mars.
Mars and Earth are constantly moving, and the journey between them varies wildly depending on when you’re looking.
Typically, the best opportunity arises every 26 months – with the next windows coming in 2022 and 2024.
Musk teased that he could launch a Starship rocket to Mars in the second window, which would be 2024.
SpaceX recently completed its second ‘hop’ test for its Starship rocket prototype.
And Musk’s ultimate goal is to build a working human colony on Mars.
“I want to emphasize, this is a very hard and dangerous and difficult thing.
“Not for the faint of heart. Good chance you’ll die. And it’s going to be tough, tough going, but it’ll be pretty glorious if it works out.”
To get to this Mars city goal, Musk seems to have a rough timeline set in place.
SpaceX are working on a Super Heavy rocket booster, which could be ready to test by the next Starship event which is in October.
Musk claimed via Twitter that SpaceX might be giving a progress update report in the same month.
In 2021, Musk has said Starship’s first orbital flight would “probably” happen.
Musk said during the ExploreMars.org interview: “The first ones might not work.
“This is uncharted territory. Nobody’s ever made a full reusable orbital rocket. Just having that at all is pretty significant.”
After this, Musk wants to send Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa and six to eight artists around the Moon in 2022.
Musk is aiming for Mars cargo missions by 2022 and a manned Mars mission by 2024.
The CEO previously revealed, SpaceX aims to build 1,000 Starships at a facility in South Texas over a 10-year period.
That’s 100 rockets per year.
What is SpaceX?
Here’s what you need to know…
SpaceX was founded by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk who still has part ownership of the company with 54 per cent equity and 78 per cent voting control.
SpaceX is a private American aerospace manufacturer that is based in California.
It was founded in 2002 with the goal to build affordable rockets and enable the colonisation of Mars.
The manufacturer also aimed to reduce space transportation costs.
Since its creation, the firm has gained fame primarily as a pioneering rocket firm.
In 2008 it launched the first privately-funded liquid-propellant rocket to reach orbit and later became the first private company to launch an object into orbit around the sun.
The company has grown dramatically over its lifespan, from 160 employees in November 2005 to around 7,000 as of November 2019.
As of March 2018, SpaceX had over 100 launches on its manifest representing about $12billion (£9.24billion) in contract revenue.
Eventually, the goal would be to launch 1,000 Starship flights to Mars every year – an average of three per day.
Each trip would see 100 passengers make their way to the Red Planet to become citizens of a Mars megacity.
Based on Musk’s projections, it would take a fleet of 1,000 Starships around nine years to carry a million people to Mars.
Most read in Science
In other space news, the US Space Force has officially deployed its first troops.
A huge asteroid is set to make a close approach to Earth next week.
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