SpaceX’s Starship may start making missions to the moon as soon as 2022 after joining the race to develop the next lunar lander for NASA
- SpaceX says its Starship craft could be ready for the moon in just three years
- The company has joined the race to develop a lunar lander for NASA
- Starship plans to conduct a test launch 12 miles into the air in coming months
SpaceX says its massive Starship spacecraft could be making trips to the moon as soon as 2022.
The timeline comes from SpaceX’s president, Gwynne Shotwell, who spoke about the company’s ambitions during a NASA teleconference this week.
‘We are aiming to be able to drop Starship on the lunar surface in 2022,’ Shotwell said during a NASAS teleconference Monday.
SpaceX was recently selected by NASA as one of five companies vying to help deliver payloads to the lunar surface as a part of its new mission to return humans to the moon by 2024.
SpaceX says Starship (pictured above) could make it to the moon as soon as 2022 after joining the race to develop a lunar lander for NASA
In order to achieve that goal of landing Starship on the moon it will have to beat out high-profile competitors like the Jeff Bezos-owned Blue Origin, and Sierra Nevada Corp.
Unlike other hopefuls, however, SpaceX says its style of reusable rocket will mark a major breakthrough in aerospace technology that will eventually make exploration cheaper and more sustainable.
Starship is currently still being developed and may undergo a test in the months ahead that would send the craft 12 miles into the air.
SpaceX has already enjoyed some convincing success in its development of other re-usable spacecraft like its Falcon 9 rockets which it launches into space and then catches using a netted boat.
It’s also concurrently developing a capsule called the Crew Dragon for NASA that aims to shuttle astronauts to the international space station. That craft could carry its first human passengers as soon as next month.
SpaceX wants to conduct a test launch of Starship (pictured above) that would send the craft 12 miles into the air
Ultimately, CEO Elon Musk hopes that the company’s Starship could help humans reach Mars for the first time and has set an optimistic timeline for when the experimental craft might be able to do so.
The first crewed Red Planet mission for the rocket and 100-passenger Starship could come as early as the mid-2020s if development and testing go well, Musk has said
Additional missions may even include tourists trips to the moon by 2024, according to the CEO.
Completing a successful mission to the moon would also mark an incremental step in Musk’s other vision of traveling to Mars.