Elon Musk is ‘extremely assured’ SpaceX will land humans on Mars by 2026

Elon Musk, chief government officer of Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) and Tesla Inc., speaks throughout an occasion on the SpaceX launch facility in Cameron County, Texas, U.S., on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019. Musk gave area followers an replace Saturday night on the standing of “Starship,” the next-generation automobile his SpaceX plans to make use of to ultimately take humans to Mars. Photographer: Bronte Wittpenn/Bloomberg through Getty Images

Bronte Wittpenn | Bloomberg | Getty Images

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk stays “highly confident” that his firm will land humans on Mars by 2026, saying on Tuesday that it is an achievable aim “about six years from now.”

“If we get lucky, maybe four years,” Musk mentioned, talking on an award present webcast from Berlin, Germany. “We want to send an uncrewed vehicle there in two years.”

The bold 2026 aim matches with what Musk outlined on the International Astronautical Congress in September 2016, when he mentioned that “if things go super well,” touchdown folks on Mars “might be kind of in the 10-year timeframe.”

“I don’t want to say that’s when it will occur – there’s a huge amount of risk,” Musk mentioned in 2016.

SpaceX prototype rocket Starship SN8 stands on the corporate’s launchpad in Boca Chica, Texas earlier than an engine take a look at.


The key to reaching his Mars targets is SpaceX’s growth of its Starship rocket: The stainless-steel automobile that the corporate is constructing with the aim of launching cargo and as many as 100 folks at a time.

Unlike SpaceX’s fleet of Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets, that are partially reusable, Musk’s intention is to make Starship absolutely reusable — envisioning a rocket that is extra akin to a business airplane, with brief turnaround occasions between flights the place the one main value is gasoline.

While Starship growth in Boca Chica, Texas is transferring shortly, it isn’t transferring as quick as Musk hoped when he unveiled the primary prototype rocket in September 2019. At the time, he estimated Starship might attain orbit by March 2020, however now SpaceX expects its first orbital flight take a look at will not occur till 2021.

Additionally, though Musk had mentioned Starship might doubtlessly fly folks this 12 months, he later acknowledged the rocket nonetheless has many milestones, together with “hundreds of missions,” earlier than that occurs.

Musk has SpaceX centered on Starship’s growth as the highest precedence, ever for the reason that firm in May launched a pair of NASA astronauts in its first crewed mission. In June, Musk wrote in a company-wide e-mail obtained by CNBC that the Starship program should speed up progress “dramatically and immediately.”

Since then, SpaceX carried out two brief, 500-foot altitude take a look at flights of Starship prototypes. The firm is now making ready for the primary flight take a look at to 50,000 toes altitude, with an try anticipated to happen within the subsequent few days.

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