‘Space Cowboy’ Elon Musk Launches a Rocket Today: Could Space Travel Change Permanently?

'Space Cowboy' Elon Musk Launches a Rocket Today: Could Space Travel Change Permanently?

SpaceX chief Elon Musk will launch his most important rocket yet today at 2pm Dutch time: the Starship. According to ESA project manager Philip Schönegans, this launch could spark a revolution in space travel.

According to Schoonejans, Musk has already conducted several test launches of various components, but today is the day: the entire rocket will go into space for its first flight. “This rocket is of great importance because it will go to the moon and maybe later to Mars, but also for all the other things it can launch,” explains Schoonejans at Goedemorgen Nederland.

Cheaper in space

The missile Musk wants to launch has a super thrust of up to 70 meters. Schoonejans explains: “It’s a really big rocket that provides massive thrust that allows us to launch more cargo into space, or the same payload more powerfully and farther. This is something that could change space travel permanently.”

The big advantage of this booster is that it will eventually become cheaper to send rockets and other equipment into space. “Ultimately, this launch will be much cheaper per kilogram,” says Schenegans. In addition, parts of the rocket will become reusable in the future. However, today’s rocket will not be like that yet. According to Schoonejans, this is Musk’s design philosophy. “He would rather launch a prototype a few times. Then it doesn’t matter if it goes wrong or if it blows up. He learns from that, and in the end it gets a good result.”

political interests

According to American expert Raymond Means, there are also economic and geopolitical interests in Musk’s project. Means explains that the US government makes a significant contribution to SpaceX through subsidies. “What you notice,” he says, “is that space is the new Wild West. Americans think: We want to be there first. I also call them a bit of a space cowboy.” According to Means, the Americans want to outdo the Chinese and Indians.

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The goal of allowing people to travel to the moon with this rocket is planned for 2025, but Shonegans has his doubts. “Maybe it will be 2026/27.”

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Written by: Matthijs Meulblok

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