Elon Musk SpaceX latest – Starship rocket is getting 'orbit-ready' to take humans to Mars and moon pending FAA approval

ELON Musk gave a huge update on SpaceX's Starship rocket, announcing that he expects FAA environmental approval as early as March.

Musk delivered the update Thursday night, providing the first new information on the rocket for more than two years.

Starship can't take flight until the FAA provides environmental approval, and while that hasn't happened yet, Musk is hopeful it will arrive soon.

"We have gotten sort of a rough indication that there may be an approval in March, but that's that's all we have," Musk told the audience gathered at Starbase, the SapceX facility in Boca Chica, Texas.

He did say, however, that he hopes the Starship will be orbital by the end of the year.

Starship is the rocket that Musk expects to take humans to Mars.

Musk has plans to do this by 2050.

Read our Elon Musk SpaceX announcement live blog for the latest news and updates…

  • H. J. Hayes

    Inside Elon Musk's $70million private jet

    SpaceX CEO Musk owns two private jets but the G650ER is reportedly his favorite, despite currently being at the center of a controversial Twitter account tracking its movements around the globe.

    The G650ER is considered one of the most trusted business jets in the world with Musk's own built and delivered in 2016, Luxury Zone reports.

    It can travel up to 7,500 nautical miles at speeds of up to Mach .925.

    The Tesla CEO has reportedly taken advantage already and flew nearly 160,000 miles on the jet in 2018, according to Business Insider.

  • H. J. Hayes

    Astronomers question launch before geomagnetic storm

    Astronomers queried why SpaceX went ahead with last week's launch from the Kennedy Space Center given the impending geomagnetic storm.

    "It raises a lot of questions," astronomer and author Dr. John Barentine wrote on Twitter. "Did SpaceX knowingly launch into such conditions?"

    He questioned whether SpaceX was ready for a rise in the rate of geomagnetic storms as the Sun enters solar maximum, the point in the solar cycle when it is most active, over the next few years.

    "Evidently, they can't cope with a very sudden increase in drag," Dr. Barentine tweeted.

    "But they do have little krypton-fueled ion engines on them that they use for orbit raising.

    "What's not clear is whether they have enough oomph (and fuel) to keep them on station as we head toward solar max."

  • H. J. Hayes

    What is Starlink?

    SpaceX announced Starlink – its project to beam internet coverage to anywhere on the planet using a constellation of satellites – in 2015, and launched its first batch four years later.

    The company intends to put 12,000 satellites into Earth's orbit, possibly rising to 42,000 in future. Currently, it has almost 2,000 in orbit.

  • H. J. Hayes

    Geomagnetic storm dooms SpaceX satellites

    A geomagnetic storm has doomed dozens of SpaceX satellites to a fiery demise by preventing them from reaching their final orbit.

    Forty of the 49 Starlink satellites launched by the California rocket-maker last week will disintegrate as they deorbit and burn up in Earth's atmosphere.

    Estimates suggest that each satellite costs SpaceX $250,000 to build and launch, meaning the storm could cost it as much as $10million.

    In an update yesterday, SpaceX, which is run by billionaire Elon Musk, explained how the storm would affect its most recent Starlink deployment.

    The WiFi-beaming technology is typically deployed into lower orbits so that they can be quickly deorbited and destroyed in case something goes wrong.

    Once initial checks are complete, they're pushed to higher orbits where they join a mega-constellation that provides internet access to Starlink customers.

    A geomagnetic storm that rattled Earth's magnetosphere on February 4 raised atmospheric drag, preventing the satellites from raising their orbits and leading to their "deaths."

  • H. J. Hayes

    What is Starship?

    Starship is the rocket that Elon Musk expects to take humans to Mars.

    The rocket is under development at the SpaceX test facility in Boca Chica, Texas.

  • H. J. Hayes

    Musk speaks on the future of Starbase

    Musk answered an audience question about the future of Starbase.

    "It's well-suited to be our advanced R&D location, where would try out new designs and new versions of the rocket," Musk said.

    "Then Cape Kennedy would be our more operational launch site."

    He also plans to convert old oil rigs into oceanic launch pads.

  • H. J. Hayes

    Musk anticipates rapid development in space industry

    Musk sees the space exploration industry expanding rapidly as the technology develops, and sees more space-focused companies entering the market.

    "When aircraft first came along, they were advertised as toys, a novelty, not a means of transport," Musk said.

    "This really could be an extremely profound situation, and we can't imagine all of the use cases at this point."

  • H. J. Hayes

    Launching from Starbase 'not harmful to the environment'

    Governmental regulations have required Musk and the SpaceX team to prove that launching the spacecrafts won't have a negative environmental impact, and the entrepreneur believes the delays won't be lasting.

    "Objectively, I don't think this is something that will be harmful to the environment," Musk said. "The reality is that it would not have a significant impact.

    "Obviously that doesn't mean that this it doesn't get delayed from a regulatory standpoint," he added.

  • H. J. Hayes

    'Let's make this real,' Musk says

    Musk concluded his address by showing a video with computer-rendered projections of the Starship's missions.

    "Let's make this real," he said to the audience, resulting in a round of cheers.

  • H. J. Hayes

    Musk shares upcoming missions

    In his address, Musk shared information about upcoming Starship missions.

    A number of "Starlink missions" will launch Starlink satellite version 2.

    Musk also said that Starship will partner with NASA to take astronauts back to the moon.

  • H. J. Hayes

    Orbital refilling and heat shields

    SpaceX is working to make Mars travel possible with new technologies.

    "Just like you have aerial refueling, rockets will need orbital refilling," Musk explained.

    Because the rockets are receiving more oxygen, not just fuel, the process is "refilling" instead of refueling.

    And at a factory in Florida, Musk said, the SpaceX team is engineering cutting-edge heat shields that will keep the Starship safe en route.

  • H. J. Hayes

    Musk estimates we need 'a million tons' of supplies on Mars

    "You can only go to Mars every two years, and I think maybe roughly, you need about a million tons on Mars to have a self-sustaining city," Musk reasoned.

    "The critical threshold for Mars is to have a city that is self-sustaining.

    "If it's missing any ingredient at all, no matter how small that ingredient is, and shipments from Earth stop coming for any reason that city will die out."

    "Starship is capable of doing that," Musk said. "It's capable of getting a million tons to Mars, and creating a self-sustaining city."

  • H. J. Hayes

    Starship aims for 'rapid reusability'

    The next iteration of Starship is intended to have reusable components, including the boosters, and Musk said that testing indicates that reusability is possible, though not guaranteed yet.

    "Success is one of the possible outcomes," he said to laughs from the audience.

    "We're aiming for rapid reusability, which is why the booster is going to take off, and fly back to the launch tower, then, aspirationally, land on the arms," Musk continued.

  • H. J. Hayes

    Musk addresses criticisms about spending

    Musk gave credit to his critics who say that we should solve problems on our home planet before expanding into space.

    "The vast majority of resources should be dedicated to solving problems on Earth," Musk said.

    But funding for space exploration, including NASA's funding, makes up a tiny fraction of government and private spending.

    "We're only spending 0.1 percent of our resources on space. I think that's okay," he said.

  • H. J. Hayes

    Musk wants to 'make life multi-planetary'

    Musk discussed his desire to "make life multi-planetary," saying that going "beyond the solar system" and bringing other species to new planets is "collective" reason for space exploration.

    "I think this is just an incredibly important thing for the future of life itself," Musk told the audience.

    "There's always some chance that something could go wrong on Earth. You know, dinosaurs are not around anymore," he said cheekily.

    "I'm naturally an optimist, so I think the probability of that is low, but not zero."

  • H. J. Hayes

    Elon Musk addresses audience at Starbase

    "Welcome to Starbase," Musk said to open his remarks.

    "It's been two years since we had our first Mark 1 rocket," he continued.

    "Before we jump into what's happened over the last two years, I think we can ask…why are we doing this?"

  • H. J. Hayes

    SpaceX 'Starship Update' begins

    The video stream for Elon Musk's new SpaceX announcement, titled "Starship Update," is now live on the SpaceX website.

  • Jocelyn Cook

    Musk to speak at Starbase

    Elon Musk is set to speak at Starbase, the Texas facility where SpaceX builds, tests, and launches Starship vehicles, according to Space.com.

    He will reportedly have a "fully stacked Starship behind him as a visual aid," the site noted.

  • Jocelyn Cook

    What is Starship?

    Starship is the rocket that Elon Musk expects to take humans to Mars.

    Musk will be giving a presentation on Thursday night about Starship at 9pm ET.

    The rocket is under development at the SpaceX test facility in Boca Chica, Texas.

  • Jocelyn Cook

    Where can I watch the announcement?

    The announcement is due to take place at 9pm ET tonight.

    It is expected that it will be live-streamed at SpaceX.com.

  • Jocelyn Cook

    Environmental assessment continues

    SpaceX needs to get approval from the Federal Aviation Administration before Starship can be sent to space, according to CNN.

    The FAA, which licenses commercial rocket launches, has been working on an environmental assessment to review what the impact would be of launching the rocket from the rural Texas coastline, and SpaceX expected to get permission by the end of 2021, the outlet noted.

    However, according to the FAA, the environmental assessment will continue until at least February 28, 2022, which is just weeks away.

  • Jocelyn Cook

    Future Starship travelers

    Japanese fashion mogul Yusaku Maezawa previously gave SpaceX an undisclosed amount of money to get a seat for himself and a group of artists on a future Starship trip around the moon, CNN reported.

    It could take off as soon as 2023, the outlet noted.

    Maezawa's possible guests have not been revealed.

  • Jocelyn Cook

    When is the announcement?

    Musk is expected to give a presentation tonight about his Starship rocket.

    It is expected the announcement, which is due to take place at 9pm ET, will be live-streamed.

  • Jocelyn Cook

    Musk shares image of rocket

    Ahead of the presentation on Thursday night, Elon Musk retweeted an image of a rocket on his personal Twitter account.

  • Jocelyn Cook

    'Terribly sad'

    Experts say the school bus-sized piece of space junk from Elon Musk's SpaceX could cause a massive shockwave, defacing the Man in the Moon crater pattern which has gazed down at Earth for billions of years.

    Dr Franck Marchis, senior astronomer at America’s SETI Institute, said people would see the impact as a “sudden burst” in the sky.

    He added: “It would be terribly sad if this impact altered the ­famous ‘face’ which has stared down at this planet forever.”

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