Reiterating that humanity needs to become multi-planetary, Elon Musk said on Friday that the SpaceX Starship rocket will finally reach orbit this year.
Designed to take people and cargo to the Moon, Mars and other distant destinations in space, the rocket has been in the making for more than two years and, in May 2021, reached an altitude of 10 kms before landing safely. In a short presentation, Musk said that in the future, Starships could be built every three days.
“This would also allow 10 Starships to be launched, three times a day. Such a launch cadence would be critical to sustaining a human colony on Mars,” he envisioned. Musk, highly confident that Starship will reach orbit this year, also demonstrated a new video of Starship’s potential at the event.
Late last year, Musk, in an email to SpaceX employees, asked them to work over the weekend on the Raptor engine as the company faces “genuine risk of bankruptcy” unless it speeds up the production. “Unfortunately, the Raptor production crisis is much worse than it had seemed a few weeks ago,” Musk reportedly wrote.
“As we have dug into the issues following the exiting of prior senior management, they have unfortunately turned out to be far more severe than was reported. There is no way to sugarcoat this.”
Raptor’s engine is a critical component of Starship.
“The consequences for SpaceX if we can’t get enough reliable Raptors made is that we then can’t fly Starship, which means we then can’t fly Starlink Satellite V2 (Falcon has neither the volume *nor* the mass to orbit needed) for satellite V2). Satellite V1 by itself is financially weak, whereas V2 is strong,” Musk said.
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SpaceX is waiting for regulatory approvals from the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) to fly Starship to orbit. The company has raised billions in funding over the past several years, both for Starship and its satellite internet project Starlink.