The SpaceX Starship, which is designed for travel to far-flung spaces such as Mars, could start what is called hop testing as early as this week, said Elon Musk.
SpaceX and You're here The CEO of TSLA previously described the first jumps of the spacecraft as flights "a few hundred kilometers of altitude and lateral distance". And even though the tests may seem simple, he warned that they would be the "real tricky part".
Residents of the community near the SpaceX test site near Brownsville, Texas, began receiving notifications this weekend that the company may soon begin Starship testing, according to Space News.
When asked Sunday whether tests would begin this week, Musk tweeted "hopefully". But he warned that there were "still many problems to integrate engine and scene" and tempered expectations by saying that the tests would only be small jumps.
In September, SpaceX's operations director, Gwynne Shotwell, said she thought the first jump tests would begin at the end of 2019.
Jump flights would precede the tests that actually put the spacecraft into orbit. Last March, Shotwell said it would be "orbital by 2020 or so". Musk announced that there would be high-speed test flights in 2020 and that the first orbital tests would take place in two or three years.
SpaceX builds the Starship and Super Heavy, formerly known as the Big Falcon Rocket, for reuse.
The first stage (Super Heavy) will serve as a reminder, while the second stage (Starship) will be a ship designed to accommodate a crew and land on the surface of the planet. Musk said development costs could reach $ 2 billion to $ 10 billion.
SpaceX Starship Eyes Tourism, Travel
Meanwhile, the SpaceX Starship is expected to send Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa and other passengers on a tour of the moon in 2023.
Musk also praised the SpaceX Starship for a point-to-point journey on land, promising a 39-minute trip from New York to Shanghai.
UBS analysts are optimistic about the space tourism industry and point-to-point high-speed travel.
"While space tourism is still in its infancy, we believe that if technology proves itself and costs are reduced by the effects of technology and competition, space tourism will become more common," he said. writes analysts Jarrod Castle and Myles Walton, CNBC.
UBS expects the space industry to double by $ 806 billion by 2030. The annual market for high-speed travel from space could account for at least $ 20 billion per year and that of space tourism 3 billion by 2030.
High-speed travel on Earth from space could put pressure on airlines and long-haul flights could be "cannibalized".
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