As always for big events CEO Elon Musk was on hand to provide some information about the project, and in usual Musk style laid out an ambitious timeline to get the Starship into orbit.
Six months to be more precise.
“This is going to sound totally nuts, but I think we want to try to reach orbit in less than six months,” said Musk.
“Provided the rate of design improvement and manufacturing improvement continues to be exponential, I think that is accurate to within a few months,” he added.
We’re not rocket scientists, but looking at the current prototype state of the Starship, that sort of timeline is tight to say the least, which would make it all the more impressive if SpaceX was able to get the vessel into orbit in six months.
In order to meet that goal, the first thing that the Starship is going to have to do within the next few months, is a series of controlled “hops” as Musk terms them, at an altitude of 65 000 feet. From there the next stage would be trying to get the Starship into orbit, which would then be followed by getting a crew into the vessel.
SpaceX also released a video via Twitter (pasted below) of a rendering for the final version of the Starship, as well as its goal of ferrying humans to other celestial bodies like the Moon and Mars.
Starship will be the most powerful rocket in history, capable of carrying humans to the Moon, Mars, and beyond pic.twitter.com/LloN8AQdei
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 29, 2019
As for the specifics of the Starship, when completed, it should stand at 50 metres tall with a diameter of nine metres. SpaceX adds that it should be able to carry a payload of up to 150 tons, with it being sent into orbit via a new rocket called the Super Heavy, which will feature the same diameter as the Starship, but longer at 60 metres.
The firm added that the Super Heavy will feature up to 37 of its Raptor Engines, but Musk noted that it will likely need about 24 of them in order to achieve the desired goal.
With Musk stating several times that his goal is get humans onto other planets, it should be interesting to see how this aligns with the work of NASA, which is SpaceX’s biggest customer currently. The agency is planning to have missions going to and from the moon 2024, so it remains to be seen if SpaceX will be a part of those missions or venturing off to do things on its own.
Either way, the journey into outer space is taking shape, as Elon Musk aims to be man behind it.