Last night, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk gave a presentation at SpaceX’s testing facility near Boca Chica, Texas, where he outlined his plans for the Starship spacecraft. He revealed he hoped the aircraft would make it to orbit in six months.
11 years ago today, we launched our first successful mission. To date, we’ve completed 78 launches and have developed the world’s only operational reusable orbital class rockets and spacecraft—capable of launching to space, returning to Earth, and flying again pic.twitter.com/5L0q9PJ90P— SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 29, 2019
“This is going to sound totally nuts, but I think we want to try to reach orbit in less than six months,” Musk said. “Provided the rate of design improvement and manufacturing improvement continues to be exponential, I think that is accurate to within a few months.”
Making humans interplanetary
Musk explained how Starship will be used to make humans interplanetary. He revealed that he expected Starship to do controlled ‘hops’ in a few months up to an altitude of 65,000 feet. Once that is achieved, the next goal would be achieving orbit.
Musk also revealed the specs of the ship. It will have a length of 50 meters (164 feet) and a diameter of nine meters (30 feet). At this size, it should be able to lift a payload of 150 tons.
He also outlined the specs of the Super Heavy that will be used to launch Starship into space. The Super Heavy is set to be nine meters in diameter, with a length of 68 meters (223 feet) and will be capable of containing up to 37 Raptors engines.
In-space refilling of propellant
Musk also discussed Starship's use of in-space refilling of propellant. This would be achieved by docking with tanker Starships already in orbit to transfer fuel.
This move would be a necessity for the spacecraft to get enough propellant post-launch to make the trip to the Moon or Mars from Earth.
All in all, Musk did not announce anything new. He simply discussed plans that had already been previously revealed and reiterated his commitment to sending humans to space.