Things look pretty good for Elon Musk and SpaceX, the company he founded in 2002 with the intention of boosting space exploration. In just the past six months, SpaceX has deployed the first batch of its Starlink broadband satellites, conducted two successful unbound tests with Starship Hopper and completed the first orbital class of the Starship Test Vehicle . Mk.1).
And at the 70th International Astronautical Congress held last week in Washington, D.C., SpaceX President and Cheif Operations Officer Gwynne Shotwell provided additional details about the mission timeline Starship . As she pointed out during a series of interviews, the company hopes to send the star into orbit next year, land the moon by 2022 and send crews to the moon by 2024.
As Shotwell was quoted by TechCrunch:
"We are keen to put Starship in orbit within a year. We definitely want to land it on the moon before 2022. We want […] to load cargo there to make sure there are people out there who end up landing on the moon by 2024, if things are going well, so this is a time frame aspiration. "
The two prototypes Starship (Mk.1 and Mk.2) are being developed at their launch site in South Texas in Boca Chica, Texas and the Canaveral Space Launch Space. 40 (SLC-40) in Florida, respectively. Mk.1 was introduced at a press conference in September (during the company's 11th anniversary), where Musk presented the latest design updates to Starship and the company's timeline.
If that sounds familiar to you, it's probably because Elon Musk himself is optimistic about the timing. And while SpaceX has not always met the deadlines that Musk has set in the past, they have been able to deliver on all their promises – from the development of reusable rockets and the creation of the Falcon Heavy to the recovery of payloads and deployment of broadband satellites.
And while Shotwell touched down during a stage interview at the IAC in 2019, Musk's ambitious nature is an essential part of their success:
"Elon sets these incredibly daring goals and people say" You will not do it, you will never get into orbit, you will never get a true orbit rocket, […] you will never get a heavy orbit, you will never get a dragon to the station, you will never return the Dragon and you will never land a rocket. " So, honestly, I love it when people say we can't do it because it motivates my fantastic 6500 employees to go do it. ”
Speaking for the ambitious, Musk has already stated that he hopes to hold high altitude test flights using Mk.1 and Mk.2 sometime next year. Once completed, the company will construct additional prototypes for launching into Low Earth orbit and eventually create test flights. In recent years, he has also revealed details of the first moon tourism mission, which is scheduled to be completed by 2023 (in a campaign called #dearmoon).
SpaceX has already contracted with Intuitive Machines and Ispace, two commercial aerospace companies that have signed with NASA to deliver payloads to the moon. These contracts are part of the Lunar Cargo Transportation and Landing by Soft Touchdown (CATALYST) program, which seeks partners to provide logistical support prior to the Artemis missions, which must send astronauts by 2024 Starship and Super Heavy stainless steel in orbit. Credit: SpaceX
These agreements specify that SpaceX will provide launch services using its Falcon 9 rocket fleet. However, SpaceX has given some time to say that the Starship and Super Heavy launches will replace their Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy missiles as work company house.
The shipment of cargo and passengers to the moon will also be a major step towards fulfilling the ultimate vision of Musk, which creates a human settlement on Mars. If everything goes according to plan and on time, Musk hopes that this settlement will be built by 2028 – another optimistic and ambitious goal!
Further reading: TechCrunch