Innovation

Musk Reads: Mars city's ambitious launch date

SpaceX wants a city on Mars and Falcon 9 sets a new record. Starlink could answer readers' internet needs.

SpaceX wants a city on Mars and Falcon 9 sets a new record. Starlink could answer readers’ internet needs. It’s Musk Reads: SpaceX Edition #175.

A version of this article appeared in the “Musk Reads” newsletter. Sign up for free here.

Musk quote of the week

“Even stacking on the pad will be quite an adventure!”

SpaceX Starship

The SpaceX Starship is “the key to making life multiplanetary & protecting the light of consciousness,” Musk declared this week. The stainless steel ship, currently under construction at the Boca Chica facility in Texas, is designed to send over 150 tons or up to 100 people into space at a time. While the rocket will be used for smaller missions like Falcon 9, it’s also designed to send humans to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. Read more.

Musk is sticking to his ambitious launch plans for Starship. The CEO reiterated last week that the goal is still to send the first ships to Mars by 2022, followed by the first crewed ships by 2024. A city on Mars is expected to take around 25 years to build, meaning the firm is aiming to complete its project before 2050. Read more.

The Starship project quite literally went up in flames after the “SN4” prototype exploded two weeks ago. Fortunately, "SN5" is on the way. Read more.

In other SpaceX news…

SpaceX launched the eighth batch of 60 Starlink satellites last Wednesday, debuting its new VisorSat technology. The system is designed to reduce the amount of light reflected off the satellites. Unfortunately, as it takes time for the satellites to reach their 550-kilometer altitude, it won’t be clear for a while whether the new technology was successful. Read more.

The Falcon 9 booster used for the flight successfully landed after the mission, marking the first time that any orbital-class rocket has successfully flown and landed five times. The booster first flew in September 2019 for the Telstar 18 mission. Read more.

The Falcon 9, which celebrated the 10th anniversary of its maiden flight last week, is now the most-flown operational rocket in the United States, having undertaken 85 flights. In terms of the entire world, Russia’s Soyuz rocket has it beat with over 1,700 flights as of 2013. Read more.

  • A stunning photo shows how the Crew Dragon improves on the space shuttle. Read more.
  • Everything you wanted to know about Starlink (but were afraid to ask). Our latest episode of The Abstract podcast. Listen here.
  • SpaceX’s historic rocket launch changes everything. Read more.

What’s next for SpaceX: SpaceX is expected to launch the ninth batch of 60 Starlink satellites at some point in June. The mission will be a rideshare with Planet Labs’ six SkySat satellites.

Musk Reads mailroom

Inverse received a number of emails from SpaceX fans keen to get on board with Starlink, following on from last week’s newsletter. Here is a selection of some responses.

Lee H. Sadler writes:

I am also a handicapped veteran, with CenturyLink as my provider, which is not up to speed out in rural Moore county, NC. I am a builder, and a Property Manager. We would really appreciate getting in the queue if at all possible.

Joe Meade writes:

Let me add my voice to those hungry for Starlink! Yes indeed, technology options have let us down here in Corrales, New Mexico. We have very, very poor fiber optic options and very poor service so excited to get Starlink up and operational. Please count me in as a beta tester, as an individual who is blind, lives quite rural and very excited to have high connectivity.

Donna L. Reed writes:

We live in the Sacramento, California delta and the only internet we can get at our Sutter Island farm is HughesNet which is very very slow. I look forward to being an early adopter of Starlink.

Charles Low writes:

As others have stated, much of Maine has mediocre to poor internet. I am eagerly awaiting a chance to get Starlink, the sooner the better!

Got any comments or queries? Don’t forget to send them over to muskreads@inverse.com.

Video of the week

Falcon 9 B1049, used for last week’s Starlink mission, returns to Port Canaveral. Read more.

Got any photos or videos you’d like to share? Feel free to send them over to muskreads@inverse.com.

The ultra-fine print

This has been Musk Reads: SpaceX Edition #175, the weekly rundown of essential reading about futurist and entrepreneur Elon Musk. I’m Mike Brown, an innovation journalist for Inverse.

A version of this article appeared in the “Musk Reads” newsletter. Sign up for free here.

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