Elon Musk revealed that cost issues were among the reasons why Starship prototypes are being built so quickly, and being built out of steel rather than carbon composite.

By Ian Horswill


Posted on March 11, 2020

SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk showed he is impatient about the speed of progress in his plan for passenger trips to the planet Mars at the Satellite 2020 conference in Washington, DC.

Elon Musk, who visibly looked tired, said reusable rockets and in-space refuelling will be essential for getting to Mars.

Unlike NASA with its Artemis program, Elon Musk has no plans to go to the moon.

“The moon is neither here nor there,” he said. “Using the moon would be like, OK, if you want to cross the Atlantic, maybe you want to go to Iceland, probably not. To visit, sure, but it’s not a mandatory step.”

Elon Musk revealed that cost issues were among the reasons why Starship prototypes are being built so quickly, and being built out of steel rather than carbon composite.

“It may sound like some great insight, but it actually happened because we were moving too slowly on composite,” Musk said. “I was like, we cannot move this slowly or we’ll go bankrupt. So do this with steel.”

SpaceX’s stainless-steel Starship prototype, known as SN1, exploded at its Boca Chica facility in Texas less than two weeks ago. SpaceX is already building SN2.

SpaceX

Starship is being designed for a turnaround time of as little as an hour between landing at the end of one mission and launching to start the next mission.

“We want to aim toward a capability of three flights a day for the ship,” Musk said.

Elon Musk is targeting this year for the first orbital launch of a Starship spacecraft.

“If we don’t improve our pace of progress, I’m definitely going to be dead before we go to Mars,” said the 48-year-old Elon Musk.

“I would like to not be dead by the time we go to Mars. That’s my aspiration here.”

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