Elon Musk revealed the SpaceX Starship update. Despite a slew of technological and regulatory barriers yet to be conquered, Elon Musk declared on Thursday he was “extremely confident” his new SpaceX Starship, meant for trips to the moon and Mars, would reach Earth orbit this year.
At his firm’s “Starbase” facility in Boca Chica, Texas, the billionaire SpaceX founder and CEO gave a presentation that combined a high-tech pep rally with big-screen videos and a question-and-answer session for reporters and fans.
It was a year and nine months after the secretive California-based space firm succeeded in launching and landing its prototype Starship rocket for the first time, following four previous attempts that resulted in explosions.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX Starship update
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk acknowledged the difficulties his company has had developing the “Raptor 2” engines for its Super Heavy rocket, a reusable next-generation launch booster that will take the Starship spacecraft to orbit. Meltdowns in the engine’s thruster chambers due to extreme heat were mentioned. But he added, “We’re actually pretty close to resolving it,” and anticipated that by the end of the month, we’ll be producing roughly seven or eight engines each week and boosters every month.
“I feel at this point highly confident that we will get to orbit (with the Starship) this year.”
-Musk, who also heads electric car maker Tesla
If a two-year development period were required, it would be an incredible accomplishment even for an unpiloted orbital test flight of the Super Heavy/Starship combination, the next step up from SpaceX’s current workhorse Falcon 9 rocket, which Musk claimed has flown 144 successful flights and 106 return landings.