Musk Unveils SpaceX Rocket Designed to Get to Mars and Back

By The Associated Press

BOCA CHICA VILLAGE, Texas—Elon Musk has unveiled a spacecraft designed to carry a crew and cargo to the moon, Mars, or anywhere else in the solar system and land back on Earth perpendicularly.

In a live-streamed speech from SpaceX’s launch facility near the southern tip of Texas, Musk said on Sept. 28 that the space venture’s Starship is expected to take off for the first time in about one or two months and reach 65,000 feet before landing back on Earth.

The SpaceX CEO said two years ago that it would cost between $2 billion and $10 billion to develop the hardware needed to trek millions of miles across deep space.

Musk said Saturday he now believes the cost will come in on the low end of that spectrum—”probably closer to a two or three [billion] than it is to 10,” he told CNN Business’s Rachel Crane during an interview at SpaceX’s facilities in Boca Chica, Texas.

He says it’s essential for the viability of space travel to be able to reuse spacecraft and that it’s important to take steps to extend consciousness beyond our planet.

As CNN reported, building Starship on a relatively lean budget has been central to Musk’s vision. He said during his first in-depth Mars presentation in 2016 that the biggest obstacle to sending humans to explore other worlds is not technological—it’s financial.

He said SpaceX’s mission would be to create a vehicle that could bring the price of Mars travel to about $200,000 per person, down from the $10 billion he estimated it would cost using currently available technology, according to CNN.

Musk told CNN Business’s Crane on Saturday that choosing to build Starship out of old-school stainless steel instead of modern carbon fiber materials, a decision he announced in January, was key to making the design cheaper and more durable.

SpaceX Rocket
Elon Musk speaks of SpaceX’s newly designed aircraft at its launch facility near Brownsville, Texas, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019. (SpaceX via AP)

A crowd watched as Musk spoke from a stage in front of the large spacecraft, which has a reflective, metal exterior.

Musk said Saturday marked the 11th anniversary of a SpaceX rocket reaching orbit for the first time.

CNN contributed to this report