It is a day that could go down in history as the moment humans took their first small step in what will be a giant leap to becoming a multi-planetary species.
Elon Musk's$3 billion (£2.4 billion) Starship – a vehicle that could be a game-changer for long-distance space travel – is now just weeks away from shooting for the stars in what will be a highly-anticipated maiden orbital launch.
On Monday, the 395ft-tall rocket and its accompanying craftachieved a major milestone after being fuelled up and fully stacked for the first time ever, meaning lift-off could happen as early as next month.
So what is Musk's grand vision for Starship, how does NASA plan to make use of it for the moon, and why is it so important for the future of humanity? MailOnline investigates.
Readying for lift-off:Elon Musk's $3 billion (£2.4 billion) Starship – a vehicle that could be a game-changer for long-distance space travel – is now just weeks away from shooting for the stars in what will be a highly-anticipated maiden orbital launch
Vision: Starship has been built to take the first astronauts to Mars by 2030. This artist's impression shows what it could look like lifting off from the Red Planet
- SpaceX completes a 'wet dress rehearsal' with Starship,... What space launches will take place in 2023? After Artemis I...
- Claustrophobes need not apply! NASA's Lunar Gateway space...
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STARSHIP: KEY FACTS
First launch: February 2023?
What will it be used for? Partly the lander for NASA's moon missions but also to transport humans to Mars.
Height: 395ft (120m)
Weight: 11 million pounds (5 million kg)
Thrust: 16 million pounds (70 Meganewtons)
Is it reusable? Yes
Max payload to low-Earth orbit: 220,000-330,000 pounds (100-150 tonnes)
Max payload to lunar orbit: 220,000 pounds (100 tonnes)
Solid fuel: N/A
Liquid fuel: Oxygen and methane
Engines: Powered by around 32 Raptor engines
Crew module: Starship (ultimately able to carry up to 100 passengers)
Cost to build:Around $3 billion (£2.4 billion) in terms of total development
Price per launch: Ultimately around $2 million (1.7 million), according to Musk
Where will it launch from? Likely the Starbase facility near Boca Chica, Texas. But possibly Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center.
Total launches: 0
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What will Starship be used for?
No spacecraft is currently capable of sending humans to Mars.
But all that could change with the development of Elon Musk's Starship, which has been built to take the first astronauts to the Red Planet by 2030.
Its creation is part of the billionaire's grander vision of making usa 'multi-planetary species', first by starting a human colony on Mars and even getting to the point of building cities.
That may seem ambitious, but the tech supremo's long-term objective for Starship is for it to possibly carry people to destinations in the 'greater Solar System', including gas giants such as Jupiter or one of its possibly-habitable moons.
The thinking is that if there were ever a global apocalypse on Earth, the human race would have a better chance of several if people lived on different worlds in our solar system.
Back to Mars for a minute, though.
Starshipwill be capable of carrying up to 100 people to the Red Planet on a journey that is 250 times further than the moon and would take around nine monthseach way.
Musk and SpaceX have remained tight-lipped about a lot of the details regarding Starship, including images of what the inside will look like, but the 51-year-old has previously said he is looking to install around 40 cabins in the payload area near the front of the upper stage.
'You could conceivably have five or six people per cabin, if you really wanted to crowd people in,' the Tesla, SpaceX and Twitter boss added.
'But I think mostly we would expect to see two or three people per cabin, and so nominally about 100 people per flight to Mars.'
The Martian surface is not the only destination for Starship, however.
In April 2021, NASA announced that it had selected SpaceX's next-generation vehicle as the first crewed lunar lander for its Artemis III mission— due to put the first woman and first person of colour on the moon in 2025.
The Starship HLS– or Starship Human Landing System– will include SpaceX'sRaptor engines, while also pulling inspiration from the Falcon and Dragon vehicles' designs.
It will feature a spacious cabin andtwo airlocks for astronaut moonwalks.
How it stacks up with another new-generation rocket: NASA's mega moon booster the Space Launch System (SLS) and Elon Musk's highly-anticipated Starship will be blasting humans into space, to lunar orbit and the surface, and potentially even to Mars within the next few decades
The other uses for Starship are to deposit satellites into low-Earth orbit and possibly carry out space tourism trips
Powerful: Musk's vehicle (pictured earlier this week) packs 16 million pounds (70 Meganewtons) of thrust, which is almost double that of the other new generation rocket created by NASA and known as the Space Launch System (SLS)
However, 2025 won't be the Starship HLS' first moon landing. That's because NASA wants the vehicle to perform an uncrewed test touchdown before it returns human boots to the lunar surface for the first time since 1972.
The other uses for Starship are to deposit satellites into low-Earth orbit and possibly carry out space tourism trips.
Musk has alreadypromised a trip around the moon to the Japanese online retail billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, who at the end of last year announced that a crew of eight artists would be joining him for the dearMoon mission.
It is currently scheduled for sometime this year, but with Starship not yet having completed a successful orbital launch, that date seems poised to slip.
How much has it cost to build?
Musk has previously estimated the total development cost of the Starship project to be between $2 billion (£1.6 billion) and $10 billion (£8 billion).
He later said it would probably be 'closer to two or three [billion] than it is to 10.'
The booster element alone has been developed over the years, from the Falcon 1 which was retired in 2009 to the Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, and now Super Heavy.
The idea for the Super Heavy dates back to November 2005, when Musk first discussed his desire to create a rocket he then termed BFR or Big F***ing rocket.
Since then, other SpaceX launch vehicles have followed, all building up to the development of the Super Heavy.
Is it the biggest rocket ever?
Yes. And not only that, it is also the most powerful.
Musk's vehicle packs 16 million pounds (70 Meganewtons) of thrust, which is almost double that of the other new generation rocket created by NASA and known as the Space Launch System (SLS).
The 395ft-tall rocket and accompanying craft was fuelled up and fully stacked for the first time ever on Monday, as SpaceX completed a 'wet dress rehearsal' for the vehicle at its Starbase facility in south Texas
Musk has previously estimated the total development cost of the Starship project to be between $2 billion (£1.6 billion) and $10 billion (£8 billion)
You might remember SLS for successfully delivering the Orion spacecraft to orbit last November as part of the Artemis I mission that saw it fly around the moon and back.
Starship is 394ft (120m) tall, with the ship itself measuring 164ft (49m) and the booster 230ft (70m).
No surprise, but SpaceX's Super Heavy rocket and the accompanying Starship spacecraft are, well, heavy.
The whole thing comes in at 11 million pounds (5 million kg) when fuelled.
How Starship works
This is where the technology gets really cool.
Starship aims to be SpaceX's first fully-reusable rocket, which is part of the reason why the flight costs for Musk's vehicle could end up 200 times cheaper per launch than most other rockets.
So how will it work?
When it is ready to land on Earth, Starship will initially re-enter the atmosphere at a 60-degree angle, before 'belly-flopping' to the ground in a horizontal position.
This type of return uses our planet's atmosphere to slow the vehicle's descent but makes it unstable.
Starship aims to be SpaceX's first fully-reusable rocket, which is part of the reason why the flight costs for Musk's vehicle could end up 200 times cheaper per launch than most other rockets
It is for this reason that Starship will use four steel landing flaps, positioned near the front and rear of the vehicle, to control its descent, working in a similar way to how a skydiver uses their arms and legs to control a free-fall.
As Starship approaches the ground, it flips back into a vertical position and then uses its Raptor engines as retro-rockets to guide it down for a safe landing.
In November 2019, Musk claimed a Starship launch could cost just $2 million (£1.8 million) each time, thanks to efficiency savings that come from reusing a rocket.
By comparison, NASA's new SLS is estimated to cost an eye-watering $4.1 billion (£3.3 billion) per launch.
What about the crew capsule?
Thanks to the success of Artemis I,Artemis II will fly a human crew around the moon in 2024, before Artemis III returns people to the surface a year later for the first time in more than half a century.
This is where there is a merger of the SLS, Orion, and Starship.
That's because onceOrion reaches lunar orbit it will dock with a landing craft in the form of Musk's Starship.
Last year, the US space agency awarded SpaceX with a $2.89 billion contract to develop Starship into a lander capable of delivering astronauts to the lunar surface this decade, known as the previously discussed Starship Human Landing System.
A base on Mars? In terms of a Starship capsule travelling to the Red Planet, Musk wants to install around 40 cabins in the payload area near the front of the upper stage. This artist's impression shows what it would be like having multiple Starship vehicles on the Martian world
Futuristic entertainment: This artist's impression shows how Starship passengers could pass the time on their nine-month journey to the Red Planet
Once docked with Starship, crew members will then move from Orion to the lander, which subsequently undocks to carry its passengers down to the lunar surface.
For later missions, the plan is to have both Orion and a lander dock with a small space station in lunar orbit called Gateway, which could support more complex missions.
In terms of a Starship capsule travelling to Mars, Musk wants to install around 40 cabins in the payload area near the front of the upper stage.
These would be capable of carrying around 100 people to the Red Planet and back, on the basis of two people per cabin.
Will it do anything else besides go to the moon and Mars?
Yes, it will also be involved in delivering satellites to orbit.
In terms of a payload, Starship could ultimately transport 220,000-330,000 pounds (100-150 tonnes) into low-Earth orbit and220,000 pounds (100 tonnes) into lunar orbit.
It is likely to be involved in deploying Musk's growing constellation of Starlink internet satellites, in particular the more powerful second generation models that can handle more traffic.
Known as 'Gen 2', these could beam internet service directly to smartphones but at 1.25 tonnes are significantly heavier than the first generation Starlink satellites, which weigh about 660 pounds (300 kg).
Where will Starship launch from?
Starship isexpected to launch from the Starbase facility in Texas, close to the town of Boca Chica.
However, SpaceX will first need a launch license from the Federal Aviation Administration before it can blast off.
Musk has also previously said that theship could lift off from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, which is currently used by SpaceX for its Falcon series of rockets.
This was the launchpad that Apollo 11 blasted off from for its legendary mission to the moon in July 1969.
When will it make its maiden launch?
SpaceX originally planned to launch Starship into orbit in January 2022 but was forced to delay this following an environmental assessment of its Texas launch site.
That was just one of many hiccups the vehicle has been plagued by in attempts to have it lift-off for its first orbital flight.
Towards the end of 2022, Musk said he believed his super heavy rocket could finally launch into space last October, although the famously optimistic billionaire also cautioned that November was 'highly likely'. But that date came and went too.
Now he says it will be 'soon', and has hinted it could be next month.
- SpaceX completes a 'wet dress rehearsal' with Starship,... What space launches will take place in 2023? After Artemis I...
- Claustrophobes need not apply! NASA's Lunar Gateway space...
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On January 8 Musk posted to Twitter: 'We have a real shot at late February. March launch attempt appears highly likely.'
The fact that the wet dress rehearsal has been completed is certainly a step in the right direction, and brings the launch closer, but SpaceX still has to tick off some important boxes to make it happen.
They include de-stacking Starship to test-fire all 33 of Booster 7's Raptor engines at the same time.
It has so far only done this with 14 of the booster's Raptors.
Once a successful orbital flight is in the bag, SpaceX will focus on launching valuable satellites and other payloads to orbit on the rocket.
NASA will land the first woman and first person of color on the moon in 2025 as part of the Artemis mission
Artemis was the twin sister of Apollo and goddess of the moon in Greek mythology.
NASA has chosen her to personify its path back to the moon, which will see astronauts return to the lunar surface by 2025 - including the first woman and the next man.
Artemis 1, formerly Exploration Mission-1, is the first in a series of increasingly complex missions that will enable human exploration to the moon and Mars.
Artemis 1 will be the first integrated flight test of NASA’s deep space exploration system: the Orion spacecraft, Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the ground systems at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Artemis 1 will be an uncrewed flight that will provide a foundation for human deep space exploration, and demonstrate our commitment and capability to extend human existence to the moon and beyond.
During this flight, the spacecraft will launch on the most powerful rocket in the world and fly farther than any spacecraft built for humans has ever flown.
It will travel 280,000 miles (450,600 km) from Earth, thousands of miles beyond the moon over the course of about a three-week mission.
Artemis 1, formerly Exploration Mission-1, is the first in a series of increasingly complex missions that will enable human exploration to the moon and Mars. This graphic explains the various stages of the mission
Orion will stay in space longer than any ship for astronauts has done without docking to a space station and return home faster and hotter than ever before.
With this first exploration mission, NASA is leading the next steps of human exploration into deep space where astronauts will build and begin testing the systems near the moon needed for lunar surface missions and exploration to other destinations farther from Earth, including Mars.
The will take crew on a different trajectory and test Orion’s critical systems with humans aboard.
Together, Orion, SLS and the ground systems at Kennedy will be able to meet the most challenging crew and cargo mission needs in deep space.
Eventually NASA seeks to establish a sustainable human presence on the moon by 2028 as a result of the Artemis mission.
The space agency hopes this colony will uncover new scientific discoveries, demonstrate new technological advancements and lay the foundation for private companies to build a lunar economy.
Is Starship ready to launch? ›
The first orbital flight of Starship is due to take place in 2023. If all goes well, its first crewed flight will also take place in the same year, carrying crew members and space tourists into orbit.When should Starship launch? ›
SpaceX could launch 1st Starship orbital flight in February, Elon Musk says. "We have a real shot at late February. March launch attempt appears highly likely." SpaceX's huge Starship vehicle could go orbital for the first time next month, if all goes according to plan.What is the plan for SpaceX Starship? ›
The plan is for Starship to blast off from the company's Starbase facility in Texas atop Super Heavy, which will return for a landing on a platform in the Gulf of Mexico after separation while the Starship vehicle continues on for a quick trip to orbit followed by a splashdown landing in the Pacific Ocean off the coast ...What is important about SpaceX launch? ›
Building on the achievements of Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy, SpaceX is working on a next generation of fully reusable launch vehicles that will be the most powerful ever built, capable of carrying humans to Mars and other destinations in the solar system.Is Starship fully reusable? ›
Starship is the fully reusable spacecraft and second stage of the Starship system. The vehicle offers an integrated payload section and is capable of carrying passengers and cargo to Earth orbit, planetary destinations, and between destinations on Earth.Will Starship be the most powerful rocket? ›
Starship is a fully reusable, super heavy-lift launch vehicle under development by SpaceX. Standing 120 m (130 yd) tall and with more than twice the thrust of the Saturn V, it is designed to be the tallest and most powerful launch vehicle ever built, and the first capable of total reusability.What is the next Starship launch? ›
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||NET late February 2023|
|Launch site||Starbase, Texas|
Starship prototypes SN12, SN13, and SN14 were scrapped before completion; SN15 was selected to fly instead. SN15 had better avionics, structure, and engines. On 5 May 2021, SN15 launched, completed the same maneuvers as older prototypes, and landed softly after six minutes.How many Starlink will fit in Starship? ›
(Each Falcon 9 mission has historically launched 50 to 60 Starlink satellites.) Starship "is the only thing that can carry the Starlink 2 satellites," SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said in a recent interview with Everyday Astronaut's Tim Dodd (opens in new tab).Which is more powerful SLS vs Starship? ›
SLS has a payload capacity of 190,000lbs, and NASA has spent tremendous funds to accomplish this. Starship on the other hand has a payload capacity of 300,000lbs, and SpaceX is spending a lot less money to make that happen. NASA takes a traditional approach to product development, known as the waterfall method.
What fuel does Starship use? ›
Starship's first stage booster at sea level generates around 7,590 tons of thrust. The booster is comprised of thirty-three Raptor gimbaled engines and tanks containing high-density chilled sub-cooled liquid oxygen (LOX) and chilled liquid methane (CH4) propellant.How much does SpaceX charge per launch? ›
$275k for 50kg to SSO with additional mass at $5.5k/kg. Affordable rates also available to Mid-Inclination LEO, GTO, and TLI.What is SpaceX launch success rate? ›
Falcon 9 first-stage boosters landed successfully in 167 of 178 attempts (93.8%), with 139 out of 144 (96.5%) for the Falcon 9 Block 5 version. A total of 143 re-flights of first stage boosters have all successfully launched their payloads.Can SpaceX launch without FAA approval? ›
SpaceX must apply for and obtain an experimental permit(s) and/or a vehicle operator license from the FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation to operate the Starship/Super Heavy launch vehicle.How much will Starship cost per launch? ›
Starship launches have an estimated cost of $10 million, while NASA's Space Launch System is expected to cost $4.1 billion per launch.How many people can fit in a Starship? ›
Drawing on experience from the development of Dragon for the Commercial Crew Program, the Starship crew configuration can transport up to 100 people from Earth into LEO and on to the Moon and Mars.How will Starship survive reentry? ›
Confusingly, the combination is also referred to as Starship. Both stages are reusable, but the second stage returns from orbit and therefore is covered in black heat-resistant tiles to survive reentry.Could a Starship go to the Moon? ›
SpaceX's Starship will land astronauts on the moon in 2025 and 2027, if all goes according to plan. NASA has booked another crewed trip to the lunar surface with SpaceX.Which is the most reliable rocket in the world? ›
There are only two other rockets with a string of successful flights comparable to the Falcon 9. One is the Soyuz-U variant of the Russian rocket, which launched 786 times from 1973 to 2017. The other is the American Delta II rocket, which recently retired.
With 8.8 million pounds of thrust, the SLS is 15 percent more powerful than the Saturn V, meaning the SLS now holds the record for the most powerful rocket ever successfully launched.
What type of fuel does SpaceX use? ›
Merlin. Merlin is a family of rocket engines developed by SpaceX for use on its Falcon 1, Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch vehicles. Merlin engines use a rocket grade kerosene (RP-1) and liquid oxygen as rocket propellants in a gas-generator power cycle.Can Starship bring back Hubble? ›
Yes. The last Hubble servicing mission installed a standard equipment docking adapter. It's not the same adapter currently fitted to the Dragon crew capsule, but it's similar. If Dragon were launched into a high enough orbit, it could absolutely dock with the Hubble and conduct a repair mission.How much is a Starship ticket? ›
Musk said a Starship flight could cost a few million dollars or "maybe even as low as a million dollars per flight" in the future. "These are crazy low costs by space standards," Musk said.Why is NASA using SLS instead of Starship? ›
It's more powerful, far less expensive, and fully reusable, and it can launch hundreds of times a year—not once. Those who have focused on the "space race" this year between SLS and Starship have missed the point. The real question is not which of the two super heavy-lift rockets launches first.How many tvs can hook up to Starlink? ›
Starlink has no limit on the number of devices you use, so the only limit is what your hardware can support. The Starlink app says that the Starlink router can support up to 128 devices. Not that you're going to want to connect 128 devices though.What is the difference between Starlink v1 and v2? ›
The mass of such satellites is 303 kg, and the dimensions are almost the same as in v1. 5. The main difference of Starlink v2. 0 is a larger antenna and increased bandwidth of each satellite.How many devices can use Starlink at once? ›
How many devices can Starlink handle at one time? As standard, Starlink can support up to 200 devices but with ClubWiFi's network technology this can be considerably increased to up to 8000 devices securely on a public network.Will Starship beat SLS to orbit? ›
Combined with its "Super Heavy" booster, Starship will boast a payload capacity of 100 tons (roughly 50% more than SLS) on launches to Earth orbit, to the moon -- and yes, to Mars as well. And once it starts flying, Starship, not SLS, will become the world's biggest operational rocket.Can the SLS reach Mars? ›
The SLS rocket is designed to be evolvable, which makes it possible to fly more types of missions, including human missions to the Moon and Mars and robotic scientific missions to places like the Moon, Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter.Is SLS already obsolete? ›
SLS has yet to leave the launch pad, and it's already obsolete. China, it would appear, is not willing to march down that same path. Mind you, NASA made the decision to go with an expendable megarocket 12 years ago, in a decision guided heavily by politics and budgetary constraints.
What is a fun fact about Starship? ›
Starship, with the Super Heavy launch vehicle, is the successor to SpaceX's previous rockets: the Falcon 1, the Falcon 9, and the Falcon Heavy. The Super Heavy first stage would be capable of lifting 100,000 kg (220,000 pounds) to low Earth orbit, making it the most powerful rocket ever.How fast is Starship mph? ›
In Low Earth Orbit (LEO), Starship will be traveling no less than 7.8 km/s (Mach 23, 17,500 mph) at the start of atmospheric reentry. In simple terms, the process of slowing from orbital velocity to landing on Earth involves turning the vast majority of that kinetic energy into heat.Can you buy Starship launch fuel? ›
Starship Launch Fuel is also available from some Galactic Trade Terminals, though in some star systems, the price markup for it can be over 90%, resulting in prices in the ten-thousands for one canister.How many SpaceX launches have failed? ›
Since March 2006, SpaceX has launched 5 Falcon 1 and 204 Falcon 9 rockets. Of these 3 Falcon 1 and 2 Falcon 9 launches were complete failures and one Falcon 9 launch was a partial failure.How much are seats on SpaceX? ›
The same OIG report estimated SpaceX's average cost per seat to be $55 million and Boeing's $90 million.How much is a seat on SpaceX? ›
That works out to roughly $300 million per mission and, divided by four astronauts per flight, a per-seat cost of $75 million.What is the most reliable launch vehicle? ›
Once upon a time, United Launch Alliance had the world's most reliable rocket -- and charged NASA a premium to ride it. Today, a new rocket has taken the crown of "most reliable" -- SpaceX's Falcon 9.How often do space launches fail? ›
Launch statistics. Rockets from the Long March family have accumulated a total of 462 launches as of 15 January 2023. Of these, 444 were successful, 11 were failures, and 7 were partial failures. The cumulative success rate is 96.1%.How many space launches have failed? ›
During spaceflight. As of March 2021, in-flight accidents have killed 15 astronauts and 4 cosmonauts, in five separate incidents. Three of them had flown above the Kármán line (edge of space), and one was intended to do so.Why won t the FAA let SpaceX launch? ›
SpaceX has some technical work to complete prior to liftoff, and the FAA is still requiring public safety, national security and other analyses before deciding if it will grant a commercial launch license.
What did FAA say about Starship? ›
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released the Final Programmatic Environmental Assessment and Mitigated Finding of No Significant Impact/Record of Decision for the SpaceX Starship/Super Heavy Launch Vehicle Program at the SpaceX Boca Chica Launch Site in Cameron Country, Texas (PEA and Mitigated FONSI/ROD).Can I work at SpaceX without a green card? ›
To conform to U.S. Government space technology export regulations, applicant must be a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident of the U.S., protected individual as defined by 8 U.S.C.Does Starship have FAA approval? ›
SpaceX must apply for and obtain an experimental permit(s) and/or a vehicle operator license from the FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation to operate the Starship/Super Heavy launch vehicle.Did the FAA approval Starship? ›
WASHINGTON, June 13 (Reuters) - The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Monday approved a final environmental assessment of the proposed SpaceX Starship spacecraft and Super Heavy rocket program in Boca Chica, Texas after requiring more than 75 conditions.Why is Starship not launching? ›
Aside from technical issues with the rocket, a potential regulatory hurdle looms for Starship's launch: SpaceX has yet to get a key license from the Federal Aviation Administration allowing the Starship to launch, an FAA spokesperson said.How much will a flight on Starship cost? ›
Starship launches have an estimated cost of $10 million, while NASA's Space Launch System is expected to cost $4.1 billion per launch.How much does the Starship program cost? ›
Each mission will probably require at least 24 Raptors on the booster, Musk said, and prototypes these days typically fly 33. Musk had previously estimated the total development cost of the Starship project to be between $2 billion and $10 billion.How many humans can Starship carry? ›
The Starship program is realizing this goal with the crew configuration of Starship. Drawing on experience from the development of Dragon for the Commercial Crew Program, the Starship crew configuration can transport up to 100 people from Earth into LEO and on to the Moon and Mars.Why Starship is a big deal? ›
Starship not only would be the first fully reusable orbital delivery system in history, but it is also the largest. In addition to reusability, it would have the efficiencies of scale that the Saturn V and the Falcon Heavy demonstrated.Can Starship fly to the Moon? ›
SpaceX's Starship will land astronauts on the moon in 2025 and 2027, if all goes according to plan. NASA has booked another crewed trip to the lunar surface with SpaceX.
Why is Starship cheaper than Falcon? ›
Despite its power and bigger size, the rocket system is intended to be cheaper than the Falcon 9, primarily because of its reusable design.Why did SpaceX cancels launch? ›
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said the automatic abort was triggered by a slight helium leak on the rocket.