He’s discussed some of this before, but Musk reiterated that Starship will need to operate on a brisk schedule ferrying many megatons per year of cargo to the Red Planet in order to establish and maintain a human presence there. Musk said that the spacecraft is being designed with the plan of flying it for an average of three flights per day, each carrying over 100 tons per flight, for a total of over 1,000 flights per year per vehicle.
Ultimately, Musk says that he hopes to achieve a construction rate of 100 Starships being produced per year, with a goal of hitting 1,000 in total in service over the course of the next decade, which can transport as much as 100 megatons per year in cargo, or about 100,000 people “per Earth-Mars orbital sync” in terms of human passengers. That translates to a schedule of roughly once every two years, when Earth and Mars are closest to one another because of the coincidence of their respective orbits around the Sun.
Why the hell does Elon Musk need to build so many Starships, anyway?
Because he’s actually serious about settling Mars. It’s not a joke. It’s not a con for more government money (although Musk won’t turn that down). No, Mars is the raison d’être for SpaceX. And now, in South Texas, Musk is getting close enough to Mars that he can almost taste its red dirt.
Let’s just step back for a moment to acknowledge how nuts this is. Starship is only the upper stage for SpaceX’s Super Heavy rocket, but it is arguably the most novel spacecraft ever built. No one has ever built a fully reusable rocket, and the second stage that goes into space is the hardest part. SpaceX remains a long way from making the interior of Starship habitable for humans on a journey to Mars. But even building a fully reusable vehicle that can lift 150 tons into low Earth orbit would be a marvel. That’s more throw capacity than the Apollo Program’s Saturn V rocket had.
And Musk wants to build one of these each week.
Grimes agrees - Grimes: Live From the Future
“There are a lot of problems in the world that we need to solve. The government does not truly have the capacity to solve them. My boyfriend is actually doing it, tangibly, visibly — like, you just can’t deny it.”....
...If anything, her proximity to a world-shaking Silicon Valley power center has expanded her sense of possibility. “I mean, when you see some of the things that I’ve seen,” she says quietly, “then you just start being like, ‘OK, let’s go.’ Like, it can be better. The problems are solvable.”
God knows what things she has probably seen.
On Friday, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced that the space agency has set a launch date for the first human launch to orbit from the United States in nearly a decade.
SpaceX's Crew Dragon will launch on May 27 aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center, at 4:32pm ET (20:32 UTC). This test flight will carry NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station for a multi-month mission—as long as 110 days but probably less.
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