SpaceX’s president says liquid oxygen shortages are making it harder to launch rockets – and that people should email her if they have any spare

Gwynne Shotwell, COO of SpaceX
Gwynne Shotwell said SpaceX is experiencing a lack of liquid oxygen which is required for rocket launches.

  • SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell said the company was low on liquid oxygen for rocket launches.
  • Liquid oxygen is also used to treat COVID-19 patients in hospitals.
  • “We certainly are going to make sure hospitals have the liquid oxygen they need,” Shotwell said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said on Tuesday that liquid oxygen shortages were making it more difficult to launch rockets – and that people should email her if they have some spare.

Liquid oxygen is key to getting SpaceX’s rockets off the ground. The substance, combined with cryogenic liquid methane, fuels SpaceX’s raptor engines, which provide the thrust required for liftoff.

It’s also required in hospitals to treat patients infected with COVID-19, as well as for water treatment, and supplies are running low. On Friday, the city of Orlando asked residents to limit their water use so that it could divert more liquid oxygen to hospitals.

Read more: The investment chief running the first pure-play space ETF breaks down 3 reasons to invest in the industry – and explains why the emerging industry’s volatility draws retail investors to passive funds

“We’re actually going to be impacted this year with the lack of liquid oxygen for launch,” Shotwell said during a Space Symposium panel, per a video uploaded to YouTube by ExpovistaTV. “We certainly are going to make sure hospitals have the liquid oxygen they need,” she said, without elaborating.

“For anybody that has liquid oxygen to spare, would you send me an email?” she added.

Shotwell, who is also SpaceX’s chief operating officer, also said the worldwide microchip shortage had delayed new user terminals for the company’s satellite internet project, Starlink.

CEO Elon Musk tweeted on Monday that SpaceX had shipped 100,000 user Starlink terminals, which come as part of the user kit and connect to the company’s satellites in orbit. The service is now operating in 14 countries, he said – Starlink’s goal is to build a high-speed internet network that covers the world.

Read the original article on Business Insider

SpaceX completes stacking Starship for 1st orbital flight. Elon Musk says it’s a ‘dream come true.’

Tesla CEO Elon Musk smiles in front of a blue background
SpaceX founder Elon Musk.

  • SpaceX on Friday completed stacking its Starship rocket for its first attempt at orbital flight.
  • CEO Elon Musk shared photos of the 400-foot spacecraft on Twitter.
  • “Dream come true,” Musk said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Elon Musk on Friday shared photos of SpaceX’s Starship atop a Super Heavy rocket booster before its first orbital flight.

At about 400 feet tall, it was the biggest rocket ever constructed, BBC News reported.

The construction took place at SpaceX’s launch site, Starbase, in Boca Chica, Texas. Musk’s photos were the latest in a series he’s posted showed the spaceship being stacked together.

CNBC’s Michael Sheetz asked Musk what it felt like witnessing the milestone.

“Dream come true,” Musk said on Twitter.

Musk said there were four “significant items” SpaceX would need to complete before its Starship orbital launch.

In the next two weeks, the company needed to add “final head shield tiles,” add “thermal protection” to the Raptor rocket engines, complete work on “ground propellant storage tanks,” and add a quick disconnect arm to the top of the spaceship, Musk said.

The first orbital test of the Starship rocket was expected to last around 90 minutes. SpaceX planned to launch from South Texas and splash down off the coast of Hawaii, according to a May FCC filing.

The spaceship was built to carry both crew and cargo on long-duration interplanetary flights. It’s expected to go to the Moon and eventually travel to Mars.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Elon Musk’s SpaceX could be ordered to take down its huge Starship launch tower in Boca Chica, the FAA has warned

Elon Musk
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk

  • The FAA told SpaceX it could ask the company to take down its Boca Chica rocket-assembly tower.
  • SpaceX is already building the tower – but it doesn’t have FAA approval yet.
  • An FAA spokesperson told Insider that “the company is building the tower at its own risk.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has warned Elon Musk’s SpaceX that it could order the company to take down its new rocket-assembly tower at its launch site in Boca Chica, Texas, Reuters reported.

The tower is being constructed for future launches of SpaceX’s Starship rocket, which could begin in July, according to the company’s president Gwynne Shotwell.

An FAA environmental review of the Boca Chica launch site including SpaceX’s proposed Super Heavy rocket and tower is still underway and therefore “the company is building the tower at its own risk,” an FAA spokesperson told Insider.

The FAA sent a letter to SpaceX in May saying that work to build one of its proposed towers “may complicate the ongoing environmental review process for the Starship/Super Heavy Launch Vehicle Program,” Reuters said. The FAA needs to complete its review before SpaceX can obtain a launch license for the Boca Chica site.

Read more: These 4 companies are leading the charge in ‘space vacations’ – from giant balloon flights to orbital hotels

“It is possible that changes would have to be made at the launch site, including to the integration towers to mitigate significant impacts,” the FAA letter said, per Reuters. The FAA added that it had only learned that the integration tower was being built “based on publicly available video footage.”

The FAA said SpaceX told it in May that it doesn’t think the review is necessary because it plans to use the launch tower “for production, research, and development purposes and not for FAA-licensed or permitted launches,” per Reuters’ report.

But the FAA said that SpaceX documentation “indicates otherwise,” including one document saying that the towers would be used to integrate the Starship/Super Heavy launch vehicle, the report said.

The FAA had completed an environmental review of the Boca Chica site in 2014 but it told SpaceX in the May letter that the “480-foot-tall integration tower is substantially taller than the water tower and lightning towers” it had previously assessed.

SpaceX and the FAA did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.

This is the latest in a series of clashes between SpaceX and the FAA.

As part of the agency’s environmental assessments, SpaceX needs to ensure that the Starship-Super Heavy system won’t harm nearby wildlife or ecosystems around its Boca Chica launch pad. Without FAA approval and a launch license, SpaceX’s first Starship orbit mission could be delayed, a source told CNN in June.

Musk blasted the agency in February for canceling SpaceX’s Starship flight following a reported launch license violation, and claimed that “humanity will never get to Mars” under new FAA rules.

Read the original article on Business Insider

SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell says she is hoping for a Starship orbital launch in July

elon musk spacex starship sn8 serial number 8 steel rocket ship prototype boca chica south texas sunset sunrise getty 2x1
SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk, is building and launching Starship prototypes in Boca Chica, Texas.

  • SpaceX’s president said the company is “shooting for July” for its first Starship orbit mission.
  • The company is yet to receive regulatory approval from the FAA for such a launch, per SpaceNews.
  • “I’m hoping we make it but we all know that this is difficult,” said Gwynne Shotwell at a conference.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

SpaceX’s president, Gwynne Shotwell, said the company is “shooting for July” for its first Starship rocket orbit launch, SpaceNews reported.

Speaking at the National Space Society’s International Space Development Conference on Friday, Shotwell said: “I’m hoping we make it, but we all know that this is difficult.”

She added: “We are really on the cusp of flying that system, or at least attempting the first orbital flight of that system, really in the very near term.”

The orbital test of the Starship rocket, which is expected to last around 90 minutes, is set to launch from South Texas and splash down off the coast of Hawaii, according to the company’s FCC filing in May, as reported by Insider’s Kate Duffy.

SpaceX hasn’t yet received the regulatory approvals needed for such a launch, however.

In June, a source told CNN that the company may have to delay its orbital mission scheduled for July 1, because of ongoing assessments of wildlife and ecosystems around the launch area.

The regulatory reviews, which needed to be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration, would grant SpaceX a launch license, the source added.

As it stands, SpaceX’s existing license only covers suborbital flights of the Starship rocket, per Space News.

The reviews need to ensure that the Starship-Super Heavy system won’t damage nearby wildlife or ecosystems around its launch pad in Boca Chica, Texas – which wouldn’t be processed in time for an early July launch, Insider previously reported.

SpaceX may eventually need a new environmental impact statement, which could take up to three years to achieve, Insider’s Morgan McFall-Johnsen and Aylin Woodward reported in March.

Shotwell had made no reference to the licensing and environmental review process at the conference, Space News reported. In her later remarks, she said: “I never want to predict dates because we’ll still in development, but very soon.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Elon Musk said SpaceX’s offshore launch platform called ‘Deimos’ is under construction for launch next year

Elon Musk
Elon Musk

  • Elon Musk said SpaceX’s offshore launch platform called Deimos is under construction.
  • In a tweet Sunday, he said the platform could be ready for launch operations next year.
  • The platform is set to be used for the SpaceX Starship rockets.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Elon Musk said that SpaceX’s ocean spaceport, called Deimos, is under construction and could begin launch operations next year.

Musk tweeted about the offshore launch platform, which is part of the forthcoming Starship rocket system, on Sunday in response to a rendered image shared by a fan.

Read more: Tesla is backing a new Europe project to build a big charging hub, shortly after Elon Musk made a mysterious UK stopover

The platform is intended to be used as a launch and landing platform for the SpaceX Starship, a spacecraft that Musk intends to send to Mars. SpaceX purchased two oil rigs off the coast of Texas earlier this year to serve as “floating” launchpads for the Starship. The platforms have been named Deimos and Phobos, after Mars’ moons.

The latest prototype of the Starship made a safe ascent and landing earlier this month. The reusable vehicle could be a “game-changer for space travel,” the BBC reported.

Read the original article on Business Insider

SpaceX’s Starship rocket is set to splash-land into the ocean near Hawaii in its first flight around the Earth, FCC filings show

spacex starship sn15 landing success happy elon musk
Starship SN15 and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

  • The first orbital test of SpaceX’s Starship is set to launch from Texas and splash down off the coast of Hawaii.
  • The trip around the Earth is scheduled to take around 90 minutes, FCC filings showed.
  • The Starship rocket will launch on the Super Heavy booster, which will carry it into orbit, SpaceX’s filings said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

SpaceX is planning for its first Starship rocket orbital test flight to launch from Texas and splash down off the coast of Hawaii, according to the company’s filing to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Thursday.

Over the past year, SpaceX has launched five prototypes of its Starship rocket into the skies. The first four burst into flames on landing, but the fifth test flight, with Starship serial No. 15, or SN15, proved successful. This allowed SpaceX to move to the next step of Elon Musk’s goal to reach Mars.

The company’s FCC filings said the test flight, comprised of the Starship rocket and a Super Heavy booster, would blast off from SpaceX’s launch facilities in Boca Chica, Texas. It did not give a projected launch date. The plan is for the booster to separate from the rocket nearly three minutes into the flight, and return to land roughly 20 miles from shore of the Gulf of Mexico.

Meanwhile, the Starship rocket is set to continue into orbit, the filing said. SpaceX plans for it to travel almost all the way around the Earth before plummeting back into the atmosphere, and splashing down in the Pacific Ocean around 62 miles off the northwest coast of Kauai, one of the Hawaiian Islands.

The orbital test flight should last around 90 minutes, the filing said.

Read more: SpaceX may want to launch 42,000 internet satellites – about 5 times more spacecraft than humanity has ever flown

The five prototypes the aerospace company has already launched were the upper stage of a two-part rocket system for Starship. Now that the 16-story upper stage is able to reach high altitude smoothly, SpaceX will add on a 23-story booster called Super Heavy.

The Super Heavy booster will try to heave the nearly 400 feet tall spaceship towards orbit.

SpaceX’s ultimate goal is for the Starship to carry humans into low-Earth orbit, to the moon, and to Mars, then return to Earth to repeat the journey again. In April, NASA awarded SpaceX an exclusive contract to land the first humans on the moon since 1972.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Police issue an arrest warrant for a YouTuber who got into SpaceX’s Texas launch site and filmed the Starship rocket

Elon Musk Starship
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk next to a Starship rocket prototype.

  • Police have issued an arrest warrant for a YouTuber who got into a SpaceX facility in South Texas in March.
  • Caesar L. Galaviz filmed himself walking around the SpaceX launch site, and got close to the Starship SN11 rocket.
  • The sheriff of Cameron County said an arrest warrant has been issued for Galaviz.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Police are looking for a YouTube creator who entered SpaceX’s launch site in South Texas and filmed close-up videos of SpaceX’s SN11 Starship rocket.

In late March, Caesar L. Galaviz got into the Boca Chica base of Elon Musk’s aerospace company without any security stopping him. He filmed himself wandering around the launch site and walking underneath the 16-story-tall prototype Starship. He then uploaded the video to his YouTube channel, which is called Loco VlogS.

Sheriff Eric Garza of Cameron County tweeted on Monday that police had issued an arrest warrant for Galaviz “for intentionally going onto the SpaceX property without their consent.”

Garza said Galaviz’s last known location was Conroe, Texas.

Galaviz recorded videos with the Starship prototype days before it burst into flames when landing during a test flight. The rocket was on stilts, so Galaviz couldn’t touch it.

This was the fourth Starship rocket to explode – but SpaceX’s most recent Starship test, on May 5, was successful.

Galaviz later deleted the video, which got five likes and 100 dislikes, but another YouTube account reuploaded the recording on March 31.

Galaviz posted an apology video on April 1, saying his actions were “wrong” and “illegal.”

“In my eyes, in that time of moment, I didn’t really think about that,” he said.

Galaviz told Insider in April that he entered the premises because he thought it would make a good video for his YouTube subscribers. “I hope that the SpaceX community can forgive me for my actions,” he said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Elon Musk said SpaceX wants to blast its Starship rocket into the sky again soon, after the last prototype landed without exploding

GettyImages 1229892421
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

  • Elon Musk said SpaceX “might try to refly SN15 soon,” after a Starship prototype’s Wednesday landing.
  • SpaceX has launched five Starships in five months. The latest version is the only one to not explode.
  • It takes SpaceX one step closer to creating a fully reusable rocket that can fly to orbit and back.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Elon Musk on Friday said his aerospace company SpaceX may attempt another blast off of its fifth Starship rocket soon, following its successful landing on Wednesday.

Starship serial No. 15, or SN15, lifted off from SpaceX’s launch facilities in Boca Chica, Texas, and flew to high altitude, before plunging back down to Earth and landing smoothly back on the landing pad.

Musk wants to do this again with the same rocket prototype “soon,” he said in a Twitter reply to an article by Teslarati about the successful test flight.

It’s taken SpaceX five months to get the rocket landing right. The first Starship test flight was in December, the second happened in February, the third and fourth both lifted off in March, and the most recent launch was on Wednesday.

The latest version of the mega-spaceship was the only version to not explode, taking SpaceX closer to adding another reusable launch vehicle to its collection. The previous four Starship prototypes burst into flames either during or shortly after landing.

These prototypes are the upper stage of a two-part system. SpaceX want to add on a Super Heavy booster, which will fire the rocket towards orbit, the moon and eventually Mars. The idea is that Starship will return to Earth so the mission can be repeated again and again.

starship moon human landing system
Illustration of SpaceX Starship human lander design that will carry NASA astronauts to the Moon’s surface during the Artemis mission.

A final version of the 16-story tall Starship rocket is set to land the first humans on the moon since 1972 under an exclusive contract with NASA. The spaceship will send two astronauts to the moon as early as 2024.

Read the original article on Business Insider

SpaceX’s high-flying Starship prototype has finally landed successfully – a big step towards Elon Musk’s reusable mega-rocket

spacex starship sn15 landing success happy elon musk
The SN15 prototype stuck the landing (left), a big step towards becoming the reusable rocket Elon Musk (right) wants it to be.

On Wednesday, SpaceX sent the latest prototype of its mega-rocket system roaring six miles above Texas, its fifth such launch since December.

SpaceX is no stranger to Starship launches, but unlike the last four attempts, this prototype landed smoothly, without blowing up during its first 15 minutes back on Earth. A previous prototype exploded 10 minutes after landing, after a fire burning around its skirt wouldn’t go out. But this time, the fire at the prototype’s feet appeared to be extinguished.

“Starship landing nominal!” Elon Musk, SpaceX’s founder, CEO, and chief engineer, declared on Twitter.

This version of the spaceship, called Starship serial No. 15, or SN15, followed the same trajectory as its predecessors. The 16-story rocket lifted off from SpaceX’s launch facilities in Boca Chica, Texas. As it approached the peak of its flight, the vehicle shut off two of its three truck-sized Raptor engines. It hovered at roughly 33,000 feet before cutting the final engine, then tipped sideways and plunged back to Earth. As it neared the ground, the engines reignited to flip the rocket upright, and then it lowered itself to the landing pad.

As of Wednesday afternoon, SN15 was still sitting upright and intact on the landing pad.

A final version of this mega-spaceship is set to become NASA’s next moon lander – the vehicle that could put boots on the lunar surface for the first time since 1972.

starship moon human landing system
An illustration of SpaceX’s Starship as a lander carrying NASA astronauts to the moon.

Musk has an ambitious vision for the launch system. The prototypes his company is launching are meant to be the upper stage of a two-part system. Eventually, a roughly 23-story booster called Super Heavy would heave the spaceship toward orbit. Musk wants this system to carry humans into low-Earth orbit, to the moon, and even to Mars, then return to Earth to do it again. The smooth landing of SN15 gets Starship a big step closer to being the reusable vehicle Musk wants.

“It’s a tough vehicle because we’re trying to crack this nut of a fully and rapidly reusable rocket,” Musk said in a NASA press conference on April 23. “Somebody’s got to do this. And if you have rapid and complete reusability, then that is the gateway to the heavens.”

SpaceX is building a booster that could carry Starship to orbit

The SN15 was the second of the five high-flying Starships SpaceX has launched that touched down in one piece – at least initially. The other was SN10, which landed in one piece in early March but blew up 10 minutes later. The first two Starship prototypes that soared to a high altitudes, SN8 and SN9, both slammed into the landing pad at high speeds and exploded immediately. Another, SN11, exploded in midair as it relit its engines for landing.

starship prototype explosions collage spacex boca chica spadre
From left to right: The SN8, SN9, and SN10 explosions.

SpaceX began assembling its first prototype of the Super Heavy booster – the other part of the Starship system – at its Texas facilities in mid-March. Musk said this version of Super Heavy is just for production testing, though the next prototype should fly.

To grasp the size of this launch system, look for the person standing on the lift in this photo Musk shared on Twitter. Starship, not pictured, would sit on top of that booster.

In addition to landing astronauts on the moon, Musk wants the Starship-Super Heavy system to power hypersonic travel on Earth. Ultimately, he has said, he plans to build 1,000 Starships that would carry people and cargo to Mars in order to establish a self-sustaining settlement.

Making Starship-Super Heavy reusable could slash the cost of reaching space by “a factor of 100 or more,” according to Musk. Its enormous size would allow it to carry large payloads to space, including tens of thousands of Starlink internet satellites that SpaceX plans to put into orbit.

In short, this is the launch system on which SpaceX is staking its future. But there are several hurdles to clear before it can reach space.

Environmental reviews could slow Starship’s journey to orbit

spacex starship super heavy spaceship booster rocket launch boca chica south texas illustration
An illustration of SpaceX’s planned 39-story Starship rocket system launching from Boca Chica, Texas.

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has already booked tickets for himself and eight others for a week-long Starship flight around the moon in 2023. The group is set to become the spaceship’s first passengers. After that, NASA hopes that Starship will return astronauts to the moon in 2024. But a report from the agency’s Office of the Inspector General suggested it’s “highly unlikely” NASA will meet that deadline.

In addition to successfully landing Starship prototypes, SpaceX will need to integrate the Super Heavy booster with the spaceship, learn to launch the two parts together, and show it can land the booster in one piece.

The company will also need to rocket a Starship into orbit to test its ability to reenter Earth’s atmosphere. That will require a new type of launch license from the Federal Aviation Administration, which involves many regulatory hurdles, including a thorough environmental assessment. Depending on the findings of that assessment, it’s possible SpaceX may need to conduct a new environmental impact statement, which could take up to three years.

Complicating matters is a leaked FAA draft document obtained by Insider that revealed SpaceX’s plans to dig natural gas wells and build gas-fired power plants in Boca Chica. Such plans could prolong SpaceX’s environmental review process.

Still, Musk maintains that Starship could fly its first people in “a couple years.” He has also said he is “highly confident” that SpaceX will launch an uncrewed Starship to Mars in 2024, followed by a crewed mission in 2026.

“I tend to be somewhat optimistic with respect to schedules. I feel I should acknowledge this,” he said in the NASA briefing. “So take that with a grain of salt. But I think it’s not out of the question that it could fly people in a couple years.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Watch SpaceX launch its newest Starship prototype. The last 4 exploded.

elon musk starship thumb 4x3
Elon Musk (center) wants Starships to fly to Mars. But so far the only prototype to land successfully (left) exploded 10 minutes later (right).

Update: The SN15 prototype flew and landed successfully on Wednesday. Read more in our story.

SpaceX is about to launch its fifth high-flying Starship prototype on Wednesday afternoon. The spaceship is ready to lift off from the company’s Texas rocket facilities.

Known as Starship Serial No. 15, or SN15, the vehicle is the latest in a series of prototypes that SpaceX is launching up to 6 miles above Boca Chica, Texas. Eventually, a version of this Starship mega-spaceship is expected to become NASA’s next moon lander, which would put boots on the lunar surface for the first time since 1972.

The plan for the SN15 flight calls for the rocket to shut off its three truck-sized Raptor engines one by one as it approaches the peak of its flight. Then the spaceship should tip sideways and plunge back to Earth, using four wing flaps to control its fall. As it nears the ground, SN15 should reignite its engines to flip itself upright and gently lower to the landing pad.

That last step is where its four predecessors have failed.

starship prototype explosions collage spacex boca chica spadre
The SN8, SN9, and SN10 explosions.

The first two prototypes that soared to high altitudes, SN8 and SN9, slammed into the landing pad at high speeds and exploded immediately. The third, SN10, landed in one piece but blew up 10 minutes later. The fourth, SN11, exploded in midair as it relit its engines for landing.

Watch Starship’s flight live

SpaceX is set to stream live from the launchpad and from cameras inside the rocket’s skirt, where the engines are, starting at 5:20 p.m. CT.

A few rocket enthusiasts and fans of the company are also broadcasting live from Boca Chica.

The NASASpaceflight’s video stream offers knowledgeable broadcasters and multiple quality camera views.

The commentators on the feed keep track of preparations at the SpaceX facilities that indicate progress toward liftoff – things like clearing the launchpad, activity in the tank farm next to SN15, and the loading of liquid propellant into the rocket.

LabPadre, meanwhile, offers six unique views of the Starship launch site. That YouTube channel is run by Louis Balderas, who lives across the bay from Boca Chica. Below is its main 4K-resolution feed.

For a more distant view of the launch site – broadcast from the top of a resort in South Padre Island, about 6 miles away – check out SPadre’s 24-hour live feed.

The Federal Aviation Administration has issued an airspace-closure notice for the Boca Chica area to make way for launch on Wednesday. A Cameron County judge has also issued local road closures. Both closures end at 8 p.m. CT, so SpaceX must launch by then.

Airspace and road closures are both required for launch. But they can change day to day depending on SpaceX’s plans and FAA procedure. If SN15 does not fly on Wednesday, further closures indicate that SpaceX could try again on Thursday or Friday.

A series of Starship explosions

For SpaceX, explosions during rocket development are par for the course.

“They use a different development philosophy than the government does, which is: Fly. If something goes wrong, they try to fix it. Fly again. If something else goes wrong, they try to fix that,” John Logsdon, founder of George Washington University’s Space Policy Institute and a former member of the NASA Advisory Council, told Insider. “People have complimented SpaceX on how quickly they move.”

But, Logsdon added, “the fact that they’ve had these early development-program problems means that there will have to be a record of success before anybody except an extreme risk-taker is willing to get aboard.”

Success may be even more critical now that NASA has chosen Starship to land its next astronauts on the moon.

The agency announced earlier this month that it is working with SpaceX to turn Starship into a lunar lander as part of NASA’s Artemis program. NASA hopes to land its first crewed Starship on the lunar surface in 2024, though a recent report from the NASA Office of the Inspector General suggested it’s “highly unlikely” the agency will meet that deadline.

starship moon human landing system
Illustration of SpaceX Starship human lander design that will carry NASA astronauts to the Moon’s surface during the Artemis mission.

Elon Musk, SpaceX’s founder and CEO, recently predicted that Starship could fly its first humans “in a couple years.”

His goals for the launch system extend far beyond the lunar surface. Musk has said he plans to build 1,000 Starships to carry people and cargo to Mars. Ultimately, he hopes to establish a settlement there.

For now, though, SpaceX is trying to land the prototypes without blowing them up.

“Obviously we need to, like, not be making craters,” Musk said in a NASA press conference last month, referring to the explosions. “We’ve got some work to do, but we’re making rapid progress.”

This post has been updated with new information. It was originally published April 19.

Read the original article on Business Insider