Technology 3 min read

Elon Musk's Goal: Put SpaceX's Starship in Orbit in Six Months

Illustration of SpaceX's Starship launching onboard a Super Heavy rocket | Image courtesy of SpaceX

Illustration of SpaceX's Starship launching onboard a Super Heavy rocket | Image courtesy of SpaceX

On Saturday evening, Elon Musk unveiled to the public SpaceX’s Starship. The stainless steel, heavy-lift spacecraft towered over a Falcon 1 rocket that sat beside it during Saturday’s inauguration.

Called the Starship Mark 1 (MK1), the prototype has a length of 50 meters (164 feet) and a diameter of 9 meters (30 feet). Meanwhile, the Super Heavy rocket that will launch Starship into space will measure 68 meters (223 feet) in length and 9 meters in diameter.

In its final form, the Super Heavy/Starship will reach a height of 118 meters, which is equivalent to a 38-story building.

Referring to SpaceX’s Starship, Musk proudly said that it is the most inspiring thing he’d ever seen. He added:

“The point of this presentation and this event is to inspire the public and get people excited about our future in space, and get people fired up about the future.”

Putting SpaceX’s Starship in Orbit Soon

Musk appeared to be exceptionally excited while speaking in front of his audience at the company’s test site in Boca Chica, Texas.

In between chuckles, the billionaire tech visionary announced that they would attempt to put SpaceX’s Starship in orbit in less than six months. Musk said:

“This is going to sound totally nuts, but I think we want to try to reach orbit in less than six months. Provided the rate of design improvement and manufacturing improvement continues to be exponential, I think that is accurate to within a few months.”

Musk also said that he’s expecting MK1 to perform controlled “hops” reaching up to 65,000 feet in altitude in the following months. Once the target altitude is reached, Musk next goal is to send the Starship in orbit.

The prototype Starship unveiled over the weekend has two canard-like wings and six pop-out landing legs. An upgrade from the initial design which showed Starship sporting three wings acting as landing legs.

According to Musk, the new wing design should help the spacecraft maintain lift, slow down gradually, and spread out the heat from reentry. The wings will also steer the Starship toward a landing pad as it descends from the sky.

In an ideal scenario, Musk calculated that a fully-functional Starship could make a trip to and from space three times a day. That’s around 1,000 times a year. He added:

“We’re talking about something that is, with a fleet of Starships, 1,000 times more than all Earth capacity combined. All other rockets combined would be 0.1%, including ours. But you kind of need that if you’re going to build a city on Mars. It’s gotta be done.”

Read More: Potential Landing Sites For SpaceX Starship Revealed

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Chelle Fuertes

Chelle is the Product Management Lead at INK. She's an experienced SEO professional as well as UX researcher and designer. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with her family and friends.

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