Elon Musk unveils new Mars rocket prototype, expects missions in months

Katie Ramirez
October 3, 2019

To the SpaceX employees, guests and reporters assembled (and the millions watching the live stream) Musk presented the fully-assembled Starship Mk.1 prototype. Being able to return to space multiple times with "a rapidly reusable orbital rocket", Musk explained, is key to the company's plans.

The company plans to begin work in the next few months on other prototypes that it expects to reach orbit.

Musk made a point of thanking one of his investors, Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, who announced past year that he'd booked a trip as a private passenger with SpaceX for a voyage to the moon.

And the expense.' However, at the SpaceX launch pad in Texas on Saturday, Musk told a crowd: 'We need to make space travel like air travel'.

It's no wonder Musk seemed so tiny compared to Starship though, because its stats, according to SpaceX's profile for the vehicle, are so out of the realm of ordinary experience that they're hard to grasp.

Mr. Musk said, "I hope the audience agreed that humans should prepare for life elsewhere in the solar system".

Bridenstine couldn't have been more direct, but it looks like Musk had an answer ready.

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Musk concluded his update with a belief he's been championing ever since SpaceX's founding in 2002, to help humanity become a space-bearing civilization and a multi-planetary species.

The Starship will "be the most powerful rocket in history, capable of carrying humans to the Moon, Mars, and beyond", SpaceX said in a tweet.

Mounted on a fueled Super Heavy booster with a full-sized payload, the full stack will weigh in at about 10 million pounds. Boasting twice the thrust of the Merlins that power SpaceX's Falcon fleet of rockets, Raptor is one of the most powerful rocket engines ever made.

SpaceX has already completed two, low-altitude "hop" flights with the Starhopper, a stub-top, prototype cylinder with one of the Raptor engines to be used in Starship.

Wearing head-to-toe black in opposition to the backdrop of a moonless Texan evening, Musk unveiled the 165-feet-tall, all-stainless-steel Starship Mk1, a triple-engine reusable area vessel that may fly people to the moon and Mars.

"This thing is going to take off, fly to about 65,000 feet - that's about 20 kilometers - and come back and land". But during Saturday's presentation, Musk thanked Maezawa for providing much of the money that has enabled the rapid development of Starship. "I think we could potentially see people flying next year, if we get to orbit in about six months".

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