There’s a lot to be said about Elon Musk, but there’s no denying that the entrepreneur and engineer has seriously disrupted the aerospace industry with SpaceX. The private spacecraft engineering firm was first launched by Musk 20 years ago and has already become a leading force in space transportation and innovation.
Example: the SpaceX starship. Musk’s latest Starship is designed to reduce the transportation costs and waste associated with space travel, resulting in a more sustainable form of space exploration and space tourism, thanks to its aerodynamic design and fully reusable transportation system.
Curious about the latest innovation from SpaceX? Here’s everything you need to know about the spaceship, including how much it could cost if you want to book a future flight to Earth orbit or beyond.
What is the SpaceX spaceship?
The SpaceX Starship is a deep-space transportation system that many industry experts and astronauts call a game changer in space exploration and the future of space travel, both commercial space tourism and further space exploration.
The SpaceX Starship spacecraft and its Super Heavy rocket – known simply as Starship – is a fully reusable transportation system designed to carry crew and cargo to the Moon, Mars and to Earth’s orbit. The super-heavy lift launch vehicle is the tallest and most powerful launch vehicle ever built, but it’s equally important to note that this breakthrough in aerospace engineering also contributes to a more environmentally friendly and sustainable future in space exploration.
The two-stage launch vehicle reaches a height of 400 feet and uses liquid oxygen and liquid methane as propellant and is powered by Raptor engines. This technique results in significantly lower launch costs and a higher launch frequency.
How much does the SpaceX spaceship cost?
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk recently stated that he expects the SpaceX starship to cost “less than $10 million all-in”, which is significantly less expensive than the current industry standard. Musk later added that he expects a Starship flight to eventually cost “perhaps as little as a million dollars per flight” as space travel on the Starship becomes more frequent.
To give you an idea, the current cost of a flight on SpaceX’s current Falcon 9 is closer to $62 million to launch, while private NASA flights to the International Space Station sell for $55 million each.
When will SpaceX launch spaceship?
The SpaceX Starship Serial Number 15 (SN15) has successfully completed SpaceX’s fifth high-altitude flight test from Starbase in South Texas. Starship’s flight testing is being conducted to improve understanding and development of the reusable transportation system, while testing the Raptor engines and the propellant transition in a controlled environment.
There is no set date for when the spacecraft will enter orbit, but Elon Musk has hinted that the massive rocket could be launched next month. “Maybe late next month, but November seems very likely. We will have two boosters and ships ready for orbital flight by then, with full production about one every two months,” said SpaceX’s CEO. Twitter.
That said, SpaceX plans to officially launch the space tourism side of the spaceship in 2023, when Japanese businessman Yusaku Maezawa and the crew of his beloved lunar-lunar tourism mission will become the first passengers on a lunar starship- mission. The week-long aerospace journey includes a flight around the moon and is considered an essential first step in space tourism beyond Earth’s orbit.