Elon Musk says Mars-bound spacecraft Starship will attempt first proper flight this week

SpaceX will live stream launch ‘warts and all’

Anthony Cuthbertson
Monday 30 November 2020 13:51
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SpaceX's Starship rocket prototype explodes during test
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Elon Musk has said SpaceX will perform the first proper flight of Starship this week after a successful test firing of the Mars-bound spacecraft.

The billionaire entrepreneur has promised to live stream the launch “warts and all,” claiming there is only a one in three chance of Starship landing in one piece.

"Aiming for first 15km/50ft altitude flight next week," Mr Musk tweeted last Wednesday.

“Goals are to test 3 engine ascent, flaps, transition from main to header tanks and landing flip… Lot of things need to go right, so maybe ⅓ chance.”

It is the eighth Starship prototype, with previous versions successfully performing a short 150m lift off and landing.

At least seven more prototypes are planned before a fully-fledged flight for Starship, though no precise timetable for its development has been publicly revealed.

Mr Musk has previously said the next-generation spacecraft could land on the moon as early as 2024 – the same year that Nasa plans to put the first woman on the moon through its Artemis space program.

La nave espacial Starship construida por SpaceX podría aterrizar en la luna en 2021, afirma Elon Musk

The plan is for Starship to eventually be used to transport people and cargo around the Solar System, with SpaceX claiming it could carry up to 100 people on trips to Mars.

Earlier this year, Mr Musk made Starship SpaceX’s number one priority after growing frustrated with the rate of progress.

The 49-year-old has frequently spoken of his ambition to travel to Mars in his lifetime, famously stating that he hoped to die on the planet, “just not on impact”.

The Starship spacecraft will be able to carry up to 100 people to Mars, SpaceX says

Speaking at the Satellite 2020 conference in March, Mr Musk expressed his worry that this dream may not be possible without significantly speeding up progress.

“The thing that concerns me most right now is that unless we improve our rate of innovation dramatically, there is no chance of a base on the moon or a city on Mars," he said.

“We’ve got to improve our rate of innovation or, based on past trends, I am definitely going to be dead before Mars.”

A live stream of the latest Starship test flight will be broadcast on SpaceX’s website, as well as its official YouTube channel.

The exact time and date is yet to be announced, though SpaceX has requested road closures in the area surrounding its Boca Chica launch facility in Texas from Monday, 30 November to Wednesday, 2 December.

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