Saul Martinez

Elon Musk urged SpaceX employees to focus on Starship


A week ago, SpaceX first delivered astronauts into orbit on its rocket. But CEO Elon Musk does not want the company to rest on its laurels. Instead, the supervisor in an internal e-mail urged SpaceX employees to “accelerate strongly and immediately” work on the next-generation Starship super-heavy launch vehicle.

Saul Martinez | Getty images

Saul Martinez | Getty images

“Please bear in mind that SpaceX’s top priority (besides everything that can reduce the risks of Dragon returning), is Starship“, – he wrote while the Dragon Crew mission is still ongoing (the ship will return the astronauts to Earth in the next couple of months).

The Falcon 9 rocket is now the foundation of the SpaceX business: 85 missions have already taken place over the past decade. But Starship aims to make even the economic success of the Falcon 9 faded and outdated. Yes, the company recently for the fifth time successfully used the first stage of the Falcon 9, but the goal is to make all the components of Starship suitable for reuse – that is, to create a rocket that looks more like a commercial aircraft and has a minimal time between launches.

NASA / Bill Ingalls

Starship will allow launching into space up to 100 people at the same time and should make the missions on the colonization of the Moon and Mars real. So far, the Starship development program has suffered four dramatic failures. Although SpaceX made progress with each new step, the last prototype of the stage exploded on May 29 during an engine test.

9 months ago, Elon Musk announced that the resources of SpaceX were overwhelmingly aimed at completing the development of the Crew Dragon spacecraft. Now that SpaceX has fulfilled its key commitment to deliver NASA astronauts to the ISS, the company has decided to switch its efforts to Starship.

Spacex

SpaceX has raised nearly $ 1.7 billion since the beginning of 2019, and its value has now risen to about $ 36 billion. The company is showing steady growth and now has three ambitious programs: the Crew Dragon spaceship, the Starlink Internet satellite constellation, and the Starship super-heavy rocket.

SpaceX, as part of the Starlink program, continues to increase capacity at its launch site in the Boca Chica village near the city of Brownsville, Texas (in the Gulf of Mexico in the southernmost part of the US-Mexico border). Recently, Elon Musk is often there and, for example, on Saturday posted on Twitter a general view of the construction of the complex from a bird’s eye view.

In his email, Mr. Musk asked SpaceX employees to think about spending a lot of time in Boca Chica to speed up the Starship program. SpaceX now employs about 8,000 people, most of whom are located at the company’s headquarters in Los Angeles, at its facilities at Cape Canaveral in Florida and near Austin in Texas. Despite the fact that SpaceX leased land in the port of Los Angeles for the development of Starship, judging by a letter from Ilon Mask, the company will stimulate the move of employees to Texas from California and Florida. “For those who are considering moving, we are ready to offer our own special passenger plane Spacex“, – wrote the head.

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