Elon Musk from SpaceX announced that his company plans to travel to Mars in a decade and eventually setting colonies in the Red Planet. The entrepreneur is confident that the market will allow trips back and for the planet that will carry between 100 and 200 passengers and cost around $200 thousand.
Musk revealed SpaceX projections Tuesday at the 67th International Astronautical Congress that took place in Mexico. The announcement came with a simulation video of the next trips and the future colonies in Mars.
Mr. Musk explained his vision of giant, reusable host rockets, which will be more than 300 feet tall, that will launch fleets of carbon-fiber spacecraft into orbit to reach the Red Planet.
The host Rockets, or boosters, would then return to Earth to carry “tanker” spaceships. The booster will blast off again to take the tankers to the carbon-fiber spaceships for refueling, allowing them to get to Mars.
According to Musk, the rockets would be stronger than the Saturn 5 boosters, which are the spacecraft that send U.S. astronauts to the Moon. Each spacecraft sent to the Red Planet would carry between 100 and 200 passengers, stated Musk at the conference.
Space Exploration Technologies Corp. has as a long-term goal to build a city on Mars, but Mr. Musk did not say the estimated time. The entrepreneur stated that once SpaceX sets the city, the planet will have airline-like flights to get people in and out of the new world. Musk said the trips would last six months or more.
Regarding the first trip to Mars in a decade, Musk stated that his vision would be possible only “if things go super well.” He warned there is a good chance the company will not succeed for that time, but still, those are the projections.
SpaceX is relying on the future market for space trips. Musk said that the 2026 trip would only be possible if transportation and operating cost are reduced so the company can sell a seat on the upcoming “Interplanetary Transport System” at $200 thousand.
The company wants to create another version of its current Falcon 9 booster. The Falcon 9 are designed to lose some engines on the ascent and still complete the mission, said Musk. He stated that if SpaceX’s plan goes as intended, the rockets will land vertically back on the launchpad.
“We are trying to make as much progress as we can with the resources we have,” said Musk regarding the simpler approach that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has for Mars.
Musk estimated a $10 billion investment to develop, test and deploy the preliminary hardware to carry SpaceX visions.
Source: The Wall Street Journal