Elon Musk is still thinking big with SpaceX's Starship Mars-colonizing rocket. Really big.

Space.com | 1/17/2020 | Mike Wall
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Surprise, surprise: Elon Musk is thinking big.

SpaceX's billionaire founder and CEO outlined some ambitious goals for the company's Starship Mars-colonization system during a flurry of Twitter posts on Thursday (Jan. 16).

Starship - Architecture - Spaceship - Starship - Musk

The Starship architecture consists of a big spaceship called Starship, which Musk has said will be capable of carrying up to 100 people, and a giant rocket named Super Heavy. Both of these vehicles will be reusable; indeed, rapid and frequent reuse is key to Musk's overall vision, which involves cutting the cost of spaceflight enough to make Mars colonization and other bold exploration feats economically feasible.

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Reuse - Bit - Understatement - Thursday - Tweets

And "frequent reuse" is a bit of an understatement, it would seem. In one of Thursday's tweets, for example, Musk wrote that the eventual goal is to launch each Starship vehicle three times per day on average. Each Starship will be able to carry about 100 tons of payload to orbit, so, at that flight rate, every vehicle would loft about 100,000 tons annually, he explained.

And there won't be just one Starship — far from it, if everything goes according to Musk's plan.

Building - Starships/year - Years - Megatons/year - People

"Building 100 Starships/year gets to 1000 in 10 years or 100 megatons/year or maybe around 100k people per Earth-Mars orbital sync," Musk wrote in another Thursday tweet.

"Orbital sync" refers to an alignment of the two planets that's favorable for interplanetary travel, which comes along just once every 26 months. So, Musk envisions huge fleets of Starships departing during these windows.

Musk - Activity - Establishment - Settlement - Red

Musk wants all of this activity to lead to the establishment of a sustainable settlement on the Red Planet. This goal — making humanity a multiplanet species — is close to the entrepreneur's heart....
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