Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, gave a presentation a few hours back, updating the general populace about the status of its massive stainless steel rocket dubbed Starship. As Musk tweeted on Friday, Starship is the company's initiative to make space travel to Mars and beyond a tangible reality thereby "allow[ing] us to inhabit other worlds."
Consequently, Musk and SpaceX are aiming to put the rocket in orbit in six months, give or take a few. The entrepreneur spoke from the company’s Boca Chica test site near Brownsville, Texas:
"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."
But before that, the rocket will have to be tested in controlled altitudes of up to 65,000 feet, Musk claimed, after which testing in orbit will commence. The presentation was rather elaborate and the entrepreneur went to great lengths to explain the design ideology, mechanics, and the wisdom behind the choice of materials used for the manufacturing of the rocket.
Elon Musk also waxed lyrical about the Raptor engines of the spacecraft. He has been tweeting out the pictures of the three engines on the rocket leading up to the event. At the presentation, he showed a clip of the engines firing up as a part of the development's testing phase. Moreover, a few computer simulations of Starship slowing down and landing back to the ground were also played.
The presentation also saw the founder speak up about the recent rise in tensions between NASA and SpaceX. Musk clarified, “To be clear, the vast majority of our resources are [focused] on Falcon and Dragon, especially Crew Dragon,” in response to the NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine who called for "the same level of enthusiasm focused on the investments of the American taxpayer," saying that "It’s time to deliver," in his tweet. For clarification, Crew Dragon is the spacecraft that SpaceX is building for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, but the project has been running "years behind schedule" according to Bridenstine.
The rest of the presentation was marked by recounting SpaceX's previous successes. Specifically that of the Falcon 1 rocket, which, eleven years ago, on September 28, 2008, became the first private liquid-fueled rocket to make it to orbit. Musk said, "If that launch had not succeeded that would have been the end of SpaceX,” asserting that the Falcon 1 was instrumental in making the company what it is today.
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