On Wednesday, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk revealed that the maiden orbital flight of the massive Starship will take place in early 2022. He believes more than 1000 such a machine will be required to colonize other planets in the future.
Earlier this month, Elon Musk had announced that SpaceX plans on conducting several tests in December and January. “We’re going to do a bunch of testing in December and hopefully launch in January,” he said. Later on Wednesday, Musk said that the test may take place “perhaps in February,” during a conference at the National Academy of Sciences.
“There are a lot of risks associated with this first launch. So I wouldn’t say he’s likely to be successful, but I think we’re going to make a lot of progress,” He went on to state.
Multiple suborbital flights have already been completed by Starship, and after several tests that culminated in spectacular explosions, SpaceX has now managed to land the spaceship, which is intended to be reusable. This time around, however, it will be outfitted with the very powerful first-stage booster known as Super Heavy in order to conduct the orbital test.
According to Elon Musk, approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is anticipated “by the end of the year.”
“The launch pad and launch tower will be finished this month, and then we’ll conduct a series of tests in December,” says the CEO. “We plan to do at least a dozen launches next year, if not more.” In addition, he predicted that Starship will be ready to deliver cargo outside of the testing environment by 2023.
“What we aim to develop with the spacecraft is a generalized means of transporting large amounts of mass or people… anywhere in the solar system,” he added, referring to the “largest rocket ever built.”
During the one-hour address, which was streamed live on YouTube, Elon Musk, reiterated his vision, saying, “I believe it is incredibly crucial that we attempt to become a multi-planetary species as quickly as possible. […] At some point, the Earth will become uninhabitable,” he said. As a result, SpaceX has built a factory in order to mass construct Starship replicas on a massive scale.
“For life to become multi-planetary, we may need 1,000 ships,” he added.
NASA is also counting on Starship for its future missions. The government agency has decided to place its bet on Starship to be the lunar lander that will be utilized as a part of its Artemis mission to return to the moon.