24.03.2021 / 19:06 // ESA / SpaceX

In a tweet, SpaceX founder Elon Musk announced that starships will land on Mars before 2030. He made this statement in a thread started by the technology blog Ars Technica.

The main topic of the blog post is the "New European Space Transportation Solutions" (NESTS) initiative launched by ESA. According to Ars Technica, this is Europe's attempt to keep pace with the U.S. - specifically SpaceX - in the development of technological systems. Furthermore, the article points out that Europe so far has no answer of its own to the changes in space travel. Among the examples cited are the offer of rideshare for satellites, but also that ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet is to fly to the ISS as a member of the SpaceX Crew 2 mission. On the other hand, the fact that NASA was in a comparable situation after the shuttle program was discontinued in 2011 until the launch of SpaceX Crew-1 in 2020 and had to book seats with Roskosmos goes unmentioned.

As far as Musk's announcement for a starship landing on Mars before 2030 is concerned, he could be right. Possible launch windows open about every 26 months, the next one in August/September 2022, followed by three more that would allow a comparatively short and inexpensive trip to Mars of about six to nine months. Contrast that with the development of the Starship and Super Heavy, and Musk's plan could work. Following test flights of SN8, SN9 and SN10, SN11 is already on the launch pad and completed a successful static fire test on March 23, 2021. A possible launch date is currently in early April 2021. Super Heavy BN1, meanwhile, stands fully assembled at Highbay in Boca Chica, Texas (USA). According to Musk, however, it is just a production roadmap to figure out how to assemble and transport a 70-meter-high first stage. The first stage to fly will be BN2.

via: Ars Technica, T3N, What About it?

Written by (MWe)