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‌Elon Musk Envisions 50 Starships Flying Every 3 Days To Enable Life On Mars‌

SpaceX CEO aims for self-sustaining city on Mars as Starship's thrust is increased by 20%

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, on Sunday, termed the company’s Starship “the meaning of life” and said it would have three more engines.

Musk shared a picture of a Starship showing its six raptor engines and said, “3 more engines for the meaning of life.”

SpaceX’s Starship, composed of the super heavy rocket and the Starship spacecraft, aims to create a fully reusable transportation system for crew and cargo missions to Earth’s orbit, the Moon, and Mars. According to the SpaceX website, the super heavy will be powered by 33 Raptor engines and Starship by 6.

SpaceX’s Starship spacecraft and Super Heavy rocket launch from Starbase was scrubbed on April 17, 2023. (JONATHAN NEWTON VIA GETTY ) 

However, as per Musk’s latest update, the Starship will now have 9 engines. “Looks like we can increase Raptor thrust by ~20% to reach 9000 tons (20 million lbs) of force at sea level,” Musk said.

He added in a later tweet that the Starship could deliver 200 tons of payload to a useful orbit, meaning they could enable over a megaton of payload to orbit per year if 50 rockets flew every 3 days on average. According to the CEO, that would suffice to build a self-sustaining city on Mars.

SpaceX conducted the first test launch of Starship on April 20. The rocket exploded in less than four minutes after take-off.

Late last month, SpaceX said that Ship 25, the prototype that will make the second flight test, has completed a six-engine static fire test at Starbase. The test firing was a key milestone before the second test flight.

In a discussion with journalist Ashlee Vance, Musk said that significant changes had been made since the first test flight, and he now estimates a 60% probability for the next flight to reach orbit, contingent on the success of stage separation. He then predicted the second flight test to occur in six weeks.

The SpaceX Starship lifts off from the launchpad during a flight test from Starbase in Boca Chica, Texas, on April 20, 2023. The Starship capsule had been scheduled to separate from the first-stage rocket booster three minutes into the flight, but separation failed to occur, and the rocket blew up. (PATRICK T. FALLON VIA GETTY) 

Musk has previously discussed adding more engines to at least some Starship vehicles. In 2021, Musk said that the Starship is being upgraded to nine engines.

Starship is key to realizing Musk’s dreams of making life “multi-planetary.” In 2020, Musk said that he would send a million people to Mars by 2050 aboard Starship and that it is the key to “protecting the light of consciousness.”

Produced in association with Benzinga

Edited by Judy Marie Sansom and Sterling Creighton Beard

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