Elon Musk he seems to be quite focused on Starship right now, sharing photos of the work done on the Starship orbital prototype designed “SN1”, which is currently under construction at the SpaceX facility in Boca Chica, Texas. On Thursday evening the CEO answered a series of questions on Twitter, giving more details on Starship and how he will eventually work to achieve Musk’s goal of turning humans into an interplanetary species with a colony on Mars.
He has already discussed this a little earlier, but Musk has reiterated that the spaceship will have to operate on a rapid program by ferrying many megatons per year of loading to the Red Planet to establish and maintain a human presence there. Musk said the spacecraft was designed with the plan to pilot it for an average of three flights per day, each with a load of over 100 tons per flight, for a total of over 1,000 flights per year per vehicle.
In the end, Musk says he hopes to achieve a construction rate of 100 spaceships produced per year, with the goal of hitting 1,000 in total in service over the next decade, which can carry up to 100 megatons per year of cargo. or about 100,000 people “by Earth-Mars orbital synchronization” in terms of human passengers. This results in a schedule of about once every two years, when Earth and Mars are closer together due to the coincidence of their respective orbits around the Sun.
Musk made clear in response to another question that how it will work will bring Mars’ fleet into a staging orbit above Earth, where they can be refueled in space before their synchronized departure. So once every 26 months there will be around 1,000 ships they depart over 30 days for their transit to Mars. While the spaceship will require an in-orbit refueling to make the journey to Mars from Earth, due to how much thrust is needed to get out of the Earth’s atmosphere, the same is not true of the reverse journey, Musk stressed.
SpaceX by the goal, according to Musk, is finally to send a million people to Mars by 2050, which Musk also confirmed in another response to a use of Twitter. The goal is to make it common and affordable enough that “anyone can go if they wish, with loans available for those who have no money.” In addition, Musk also noted that “there will be a lot of work on Mars” for potential settlers.
As Musk pointed out at every stage of SpaceX development, reusability in the Starship system is the key. Each spaceship will have a target useful life of approximately 20-30 years – similar to commercial planes today, he noted. This is necessary if the company hopes to be able to operate on the scale described above, while doing so in an almost economically viable way.
Starship is currently under development, with a new prototype under construction at its Texas facility. The company has already built a small-scale demonstrator without a cone to test the new engines it is working on for Starship and has demonstrated those that work successfully for controlled flight at low altitude. He built a larger prototype that originally said it would be used for high altitude testing, but that failed during an early pressure test and has now moved on to a third version with a refined and improved design, which according to the company it will be used for orbital flight tests this year.