It’s a little phrase that caused a stir in the world of space. SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell assured that SpaceX will bring people to Mars in the coming decade. Before adding that the Moon is a short-term goal for the space company founded 20 years ago by Elon Musk.
A central piece of the SpaceX organization chart, Gwynne Shotwell is the second voice of the company behind the tumultuous entrepreneur from Pretoria. According to this new statement, SpaceX’s ultra-ambitious schedule could be met with a first manned mission to the Red Planet in 2029.
As a reminder, SpaceX initially wanted to reach the planet Mars before 2024, but according to the admission of Elon Musk himself he tends to shorten the deadlines, and give dates that are very difficult to reach. SpaceX’s current schedule instead targets the Moon for 2024 with NASA and the Artemis program.
Starship: the ship at the heart of all questions
The Starship should also be used by the American space agency for the last parts of the mission. According to Shotwell, the success of the lunar mission could galvanize NASA’s energy to go to Mars, with an unmanned mission at first, then with a crew at the end of the decade.
At the moment the Moon like Mars seems very far from SpaceX. The company’s ultra-promising Starship hasn’t flown for months, and Shotwell has announced that the next take-off will take place in early summer. It will then be necessary to go very quickly for the company of Elon Musk.
The latter will have to prove to NASA that the Starship is capable of flying to the Moon and leaving before the start of the Artemis program, which should be entitled to its first flight by the end of 2022. as far as Mars is concerned, things will be even more complicated.
SpaceX calendar: a real Texas puzzle
Indeed, SpaceX will have to launch its Starship in 2024 or 2026 to reach Mars before the end of the decade. The trip to Mars being more than 60 million kilometers (under the best conditions) it takes several months to reach our red “neighbor”.
Carrying out an unmanned mission to Mars seems to be the right solution for SpaceX, and it is difficult to imagine astronauts agreeing to go to Mars on board a spacecraft that has never landed on the ground of the red planet. . But going through this unmanned mission takes time, and it seems very complicated for Elon Musk’s company to return all these missions in a few years, and thus set foot on Mars before 2030.