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posted by martyb on Monday December 11 2017, @01:26PM   Printer-friendly
from the competition++ dept.

Who will make it to Mars first?

It was about a year ago that Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg first began saying his company would beat SpaceX to Mars. "I'm convinced that the first person to step foot on Mars will arrive there riding on a Boeing rocket," he said during a Boeing-sponsored tech summit in Chicago in October 2016.

On Thursday, Muilenburg repeated that claim on CNBC. Moreover, he added this tidbit about the Space Launch System rocket—for which Boeing is the prime contractor of the core stage—"We're going to take a first test flight in 2019 and we're going to do a slingshot mission around the Moon."

Unlike last year, Muilenburg drew a response from SpaceX this time. The company's founder, Elon Musk, offered a pithy response on Twitter: "Do it."

The truth is that Boeing's rocket isn't going anywhere particularly fast. Although Muilenburg says it will launch in 2019, NASA has all but admitted that will not happen. The rocket's maiden launch has already slipped from late 2017 into "no earlier than" December 2019. However, NASA officials have said a 2019 launch is a "best case" scenario, and a slip to June 2020 is more likely.


Also, the next SpaceX flight is an ISS resupply mission and is scheduled for this coming Tuesday (December 12, 2017) at 1646 GMT (11:46 a.m. EST) from SLC-40, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The plan is for the booster to return to landing at Landing Zone-1, also at Cape Canaveral.

Previously: Maiden Flight of the Space Launch System Delayed to 2019
Elon Musk Publishes Mars Colonization Plan
SpaceX Appears to Have Pulled the Plug on its Red Dragon Plans
SpaceX Putting Red Dragon on the Back Burner
SpaceX: Making Human Life Multiplanetary

Related: VP of Engineering at United Launch Alliance Resigns over Comments About the Space Launch Industry
ULA Exec: SpaceX could be Grounded for 9-12 Months
Commercial Space Companies Want More Money From NASA
Bigelow and ULA to Put Inflatable Module in Orbit Around the Moon by 2022
SpaceX Unlocks "Steamroller" Achievement as Company Eyes 19 Launches in 2017
Trump Space Adviser: Mars "Too Ambitious" and SLS is a Strategic National Asset
SpaceX's Reusable Rockets Could End EU's Arianespace, and Other News

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  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by dwilson on Monday December 11 2017, @07:16PM (2 children)

    by dwilson (2599) Subscriber Badge on Monday December 11 2017, @07:16PM (#608389) Journal

    It was about a year ago that Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg first began saying his company would beat SpaceX to Mars.

    Well, there are really only two ways to do that.

    One: get there first through superior engineering, innovation, etc and so forth.

    Two: throw enough roadblocks in front of SpaceX via their existing relationships with government to ensure SpaceX doesn't get there at all.

    Just because he said they will beat SpaceX to Mars, doesn't mean they're going to try to get to Mars.

    - D
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  • (Score: 3, Funny) by MostCynical on Monday December 11 2017, @10:52PM (1 child)

    by MostCynical (2589) on Monday December 11 2017, @10:52PM (#608512) Journal

    Congress passes a funding regulation that says Boeing will provide the legs of the lander and SpaceX will do the other 99.8%

    Muilenberg wins

    "I guess once you start doubting, there's no end to it." -Batou, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
    • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Monday December 11 2017, @11:15PM

      by bob_super (1357) on Monday December 11 2017, @11:15PM (#608525)

      Elon's team engineers space-rated spaceX stickers to put under the lander's feet and explorers' shoes at the last second. They leave a logo imprint when the first-step-on-Mars picture is taken.