SpaceX promises debut ‘Starship’ flight in 2021

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Jonathan Hofeller, SpaceX’s VP/Commercial Sales, told conference delegates in Jakarta, Indonesia that the first commercial flight for SpaceX’s giant ‘Starship’ Super-heavyweight rocket’s “full stack” (complete configuration) will probably happen in 2021.

The new rocket is capable of placing a massive 20 tonnes into a geo-stationary transfer orbit, or more than 100 tonnes to a Low Earth orbit (LEO).

The rocket’s upper stage will have a 9-metre payload fairing and capable of carrying a crew to Mars. The rocket is also being designed to carry commercial satellite-payloads, and Hofeller told delegates that SpaceX was already in contact with 3 potential clients.

Full test flights will be made ahead of commercialisation although a ‘hop’ of a few centimetres was carried out in April and similar tests will be made during this year.

Not mentioned were the concepts of intercontinental travel, and the possibilities of passengers travelling through space between (say) London and New York in – so it is claimed – just 29 minutes.

However, he revealed that SpaceX’s normal Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy fees for launches were coming down in price. Past quoted fees of around $62 million to $50 million where a client used a ‘pre-flown’ configuration.


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