Elon Musk lays out fast and furious plan for Starship

Starship and Falcon 1
SpaceX’s Starship Mk1 prototype stands alongside a first stage of SpaceX’s Falcon 1 rocket, which had its first successful orbital launch in 2008. If you look closely at this picture from SpaceX’s Boca Chica facility, you can see people to the left of the Starship rocket. (SpaceX via Twitter)

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk set a revved-up timeline tonight for testing and building a fleet of Starship rocket ships that he says would eventually take people on trips to the moon, Mars and other deep-space destinations.

Standing in front of SpaceX’s newly constructed Starship Mk1 prototype at the company’s South Texas facility, Musk said he expected the first 12-mile-high test flight to take place in a month or two.

His timeline called for building up to four more versions of the super-rocket and conducting the first orbital launch within six months. The next version, dubbed Starship Mk2, is already taking shape at SpaceX’s Florida facilities.

The first crewed orbital mission could take place as early as next year, Musk said.

In the past, even Musk has acknowledged that his timelines tend to be overly optimistic, but tonight he suggested that’s a feature, not a bug.

“If the schedule’s long, it’s wrong,” he told a crowd of journalists, employees and fans. “If it’s tight, it’s right.”

Get the full story on GeekWire.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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