Elon Musk's SpaceX targets 2021 commercial launch
SpaceX could begin hauling customers to low Earth orbit as soon as 2021 once its new spacecraft, Starship, comes online.
According to SpaceX Vice President of Commercial Sales, Jonathan Hofeller, that the private space launch company is currently talking to three different telecom companies about selecting which will be the first mission aboard Starship.
Speaking at a conference in Indonesia, Hofeller spoke of the capacity of the yet-to-be-completed Starship to include a launch system enabling it to be propelled to orbit by a ‘Super Heavy’ booster.
The spacecraft is expected to be able to carry loads of more than 100 tonnes to low-Earth orbit and then, following initial flights, it is believed that the option will be extended to paying commercial passengers.
It’s also intended to be the spacecraft that enables SpaceX to achieve its goal of running crewed missions to Mars.
Thanks to the booster's reusable nature, prices have already lowered by $12 million and will continue to drop over time. In the meantime, the Starship will continue making "hop" test runs in anticipation of its full space service.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has previously said that the company is looking at 2023 as the earliest target date for providing a Moon circuit space trip to his first paying tourist customer, Japanese entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa.