Elon Musk: ‘Mars is looking real’

SpaceX

Elon Musk, founder and CEO of SpaceX, believes he has the capabilities to build a spacecraft that can finally carry humans to Mars.

Musk watched as SpaceX completed a successful test flight of a prototype of its Starship spacecraft, which it wants to use to take people to Mars and the moon.

The Starship SN5 protype successfully made a 150 metre “hop” at a SpaceX facility in Boca Chica, South Texas. It made a triumphant take-off from one launchpad and performed a controlled landing on a separate launchpad.

It represented a major step forward for SpaceX’s bid to take people into space. SpaceX, Jeff Bezos‘ Blue Origin and Dynetics (a Leidos company) are developing human landers that will land astronauts on the Moon from 2024 as part of NASA’s Artemis program. The human landers are the final piece of the transportation chain required for sustainable human exploration of the Moon, NASA states.

Elon Musk, SpaceX
SpaceX’s Starship prototype safely lands after reaching 150 metres in the air. Photo: SpaceX

On August 2, SpaceX created history when its Crew Dragon capsule became the first commercially built and operated US crew spacecraft to safely return two NASA astronauts to Earth.

SpaceX wants to build Starship spacecrafts capable of accommodating 100 people. The uncrewed prototype rose up on a plume of exhaust before deploying its landing legs and touching down softly.

It’s the first flight test in almost a year for the Raptor engine, which is powered by liquid methane and liquid oxygen.

The proposed Starship will have six Raptor engines, standing 50m (165ft) tall. To overcome Earth’s gravity, the Starship will be launched by a huge rocket. SpaceX’s Super Heavy, which will be equipped with 31 Raptor engines.

Baby
Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk with his new born baby boy X Æ A-12.

SpaceX now plans to perform more tests of the Starship SN5 prototype before adding a nose cone and other aerodynamic features.

“We’ll do several short hops to smooth out launch process, then go high altitude with body flaps,” Musk tweeted on Wednesday.

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