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posted by janrinok on Sunday October 27 2019, @07:21AM   Printer-friendly
from the ambitious dept.

Submitted via IRC for soylent_brown

SpaceX wants to land Starship on the Moon before 2022, then do cargo runs for 2024 human landing – TechCrunch

Speaking at a quick series of interviews with commercial space company’s at this year’s annual International Astronautical Congress, SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell shed a little more light on her company’s current thinking with regards to the mission timelines for its forthcoming Starship spacefaring vehicle. Starship, currently in parallel development at SpaceX’s South Texas and Florida facilities, is intended to be an all-purpose successor to, and replacement for, both Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy, with a higher payload capacity and the ability to reach the Moon and eventually Mars.

“Aspirationally, we want to get Starship to orbit within a year,” Shotwell said. “We definitely want to land it on the Moon before 2022. We want to […] stage cargo there to make sure that there are resources for the folks that ultimately land on the moon by 2024, if things go well, so that’s the aspirational timeframe.”

That’s an ambitious timeline, and as Shotwell herself repeatedly stated, these are “aspirational” timelines. In the space industry, as well as in tech, it’s not uncommon for leadership to set aggressive schedules in order to drive the teams working on projects to work at the limits of what’s actually possible. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is also known for working to timelines that often don’t match up with reality, and Shotwell alluded to Musk’s ambitious goal setting as a virtue in another part of her on-stage interview at IAC.

“Elon puts out these incredibly audacious goals and people say ‘You’re not going to do it, you’ll never get to orbit, you’ll never get a real rocket to orbit, […] you’ll never get Heavy to orbit, you’ll never get Dragon to the station, you’ll never get Dragon back, and you’ll never land a rocket,'” she said. “So, frankly, I love when people say we can’t do it, because it motivates my fantastic 6,500 employees to go do that thing.”

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 27 2019, @05:13PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 27 2019, @05:13PM (#912460)

    Actually this is the only rationale for spending all these resources on going to the moon. Why should be transport cargo to the moon? So billionaires can take selfies. End of.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 27 2019, @07:16PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 27 2019, @07:16PM (#912502)

    Do you see humanity remaining, in its entire existence, on Earth indefinitely? Of course not. I think we can debate the order in which we ought engage in things, there's no doubt that a permanent presence on the moon is on the to-do list. Reasons are endless:

      - awesome space ship production/repair location - near 0g + near earth

      - great research location. for instance ground based telescopes can see as well as orbital telescopes due to no atmosphere, with the benefit of being much more maintainable

      - and yeah, tourism. of course it will be the wealthy at first as literally every single thing ever invented was. but over time, even blue collar Bob ought be able to take his holiday for a bit of moon poon.

    And countless others. I think Mars should be a higher priority because it actually has the potential for a self sustaining civilization (the moon is, surprisingly, damn brutal relative to Mars) but the moon does have certain advantages such as not being locked into a launch window that only occurs once every 2 years, not taking several months to get to, and all the good stuff that comes with those two - such as being able to make emergency evacuations, provide rare supplies, etc. The moon isn't really a stepping stone to Mars. Outside of the distance it's vastly more challenging in every way. So if we can setup some decent bases on the moon, Mars will be a cakewalk. Just a cakewalk that takes half a year to 'drive' to.