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Elon Musk says SpaceX’s first starship trip to Mars can fly in four years

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SpaceX is almost ready to build a permanent human settlement on Mars with a giant starship rocket.

Private spaceflight companies plan to launch their first unmanned mission to Mars in just four years, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said at the International Mars Society Convention on Friday (October 16). Told.

“I think we could create a second transfer window on Mars,” Musk said in a discussion with Mars Society founder Robert Zubrin. You can see the talk replay here.

The window mentioned by Musk is a launch opportunity that occurs every 26 months for a mission to Mars. NASA, China and the United Arab Emirates all launched a mission to Mars in July of this year. The next window opens in 2022, and Musk mentions the opportunity to launch Mars in 2024.

The mission will be launched at Red Planet in the SpaceX Starship Vehicle, a combo of reusable rockets and spacecraft currently under development at the company’s South Texas facility. SpaceX also plans to use Starship for missions from 2022 to the Moon and to move the Earth point-to-point.

Related: Starship and Super Heavy: Mars in SpaceX-Colonization of Vehicles in Images

Musk is a permanent human being on Mars to ensure “continuation of consciousness as we know” in case the planet Earth becomes uninhabitable due to something like a nuclear war or an asteroid strike. I have long said that I need to establish an independent existence in Japan.

However, SpaceX has no plans to actually build a Mars base. As a shipping company, our only goal is to transport cargo (and humans) to and from the Red Planet and accelerate the development of someone else’s Mars base.

“SpaceX is tackling the biggest challenge of transportation systems. There are many other systems we need,” Robert Zubrin, founder of the Mars Society, said at the convention.

“My personal hope is to see the starship in the stratosphere before the end of the year, and if Elon is right, get going next year or the next year,” Zublin added. “This changes people’s thinking about what’s possible, and as NASA seeks to fund the rest of the puzzle or entrepreneurs move forward to develop the rest of the puzzle. Let’s do it. “

This SpaceX infographic shows how the company uses Starship’s interstellar spacecraft to transport humans and cargo between the Red Planet. (Image credit: SpaceX)

If Musk’s predictions are correct (he is known to provide a very ambitious timeline), SpaceX’s first Mars mission will allow NASA astronauts to return to the Moon under the Artemis program. Will start in the same year. SpaceX also plans to fly space travelers on starship missions around the Moon in 2023. NASA also chose SpaceX as one of the three commercial teams to develop the Artemis program lunar module.

Without orbital mechanics requiring the launch of Mars every 26 months, SpaceX said on Friday that “there will be shots of sending or trying to send something to Mars within three years.” Added Earth and Mars. It will not be in the best position. “But the windows are four years away because they are in different parts of the solar system.”

Musk announced plans for SpaceX’s Starship program in 2016. The project aims to launch a 165-foot (50-meter) spacecraft on a large booster for deep space missions such as the Moon and Mars. Both Starship and its Super Heavy Booster will be reusable.

This year, SpaceX launched two test flights of starship prototypes called SN5 and SN6 from the Texas Boca Chica test site. Their flight reached an altitude of 500 feet (150 meters).

SpaceX is currently preparing another starship prototype, called the SN8, for a 12-mile (20 km) high test flight in the near future.

Send an email to Hanneke Weitering at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @ hannekescience. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and Facebook.

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