Speaking on a call with Morgan Stanley Tuesday, SpaceX founder Elon Musk reiterated his hope that his next generation space vehicle, Starship, will get off the ground soon.
“Hopefully in the next month or so we’ll have our first attempt,” Musk said at the end of an hour long conversation that focused primarily on the serial executive’s recent moves at the helm of Twitter.
The company is making its final preparations for the first orbital test flight of Starship, the powerful vehicle that NASA has contracted for its Artemis moon missions and that Musk aims to use to send humans to Mars one day.
It’s been over 18 months since a Starship prototype last left the ground, making a successful high altitude flight and landing for the first time in 2021. The upcoming orbital test will not only be the first time Starship aims to reach space, but the first time a massive Super Heavy booster, which is needed to send Starship out of the atmosphere, will blast off.
“I’m not saying it will get to orbit but I am guaranteeing excitement,” Musk said. “It won’t be boring.”
A handful of high-altitude launches in 2020 and 2021 saw Starship prototypes crash land or explode while attempting to land.
Musk’s comments Tuesday emphasized the challenges of launching and landing the new system that will become the most powerful space vehicle in history if successful.
“This is a very difficult program,” the billionaire cautioned. “Hopefully (it has) above a 50 percent chance of reaching orbit.”
Musk added he believes there is an 80 percent chance Starship reaches orbit this year and it may be a few years before the program achieves full reusability.
“It is the profound breakthrough that is needed to extend life beyond Earth.”