Since it was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk, SpaceX has been one of the most talked about companies in the world. Not only has it drawn attention for privatizing space travel, but it has also helped to make the internet more accessible around the world with the Starlink satellites. SpaceX accomplished a lot in its first 20 years after a rough start, and people are curious to see where the future will take SpaceX.
The Road So Far
During the first few years of SpaceX, the company unsuccessfully attempted to launch the first privately funded rocket into orbit a couple of times before finally getting it right on the fourth attempt in September 2008. This paved the way for SpaceX to start several new missions, and in the late 2010s, the company was reaching new milestones on a near-monthly basis.
SpaceX has had the first reuse and re-flight of a crewed space capsule, the first orbital launch of a crew fully comprised of civilians, and even set the record for most launches of a single rocket in one year with the Falcon 9. Needless to say, the start of SpaceX has been a huge success for Elon Musk.
What Lies Ahead
After setting that record for most launches in a year, Elon Musk said that he wanted to reset the record each and every year that follows. Not only will this help to put more Starlink satellites into orbit, but it will also increase the use of commercial space travel. The load capacity should be increased for each launch as SpaceX finds a path for its biggest missions.
This includes a return to manned missions to the moon. There have only been 12 people to ever walk on the moon, but none of those have come since Commander Eugene Cernan did so in 1972. Musk has said that getting people to walk on the moon was one of the more immediate goals to hit by 2030 for the SpaceX program. “It may literally be easier to just land Starship on the moon than try to convince NASA that we can,” Musk said.
The Big Red Plan
Of course, you can’t mention SpaceX without talking about the plans that it has for Mars. Musk has said that he not only wants to make it possible for humans to travel to the fourth planet from the sun but also establish a colony on Mars. To do this, SpaceX is attempting to develop the Starship so that it’s capable of traveling all the way to Mars.
This means that there has to be enough fuel to make the trip, which can be tricky as the ship also needs to be able to hold a lot of weight. Once the logistics of getting to Mars are taken care of, then establishing life on the planet can begin. Musk believes that a refueling can happen while on the planet using its resources, allowing it to return to Earth and that humans can be on Mars before 2030.
The journey of establishing humans on other planets doesn’t just end on Mars, though. In the distant future, SpaceX hopes that Mars becomes a hub for travel to planets even further away. Also, many wonder what life would be like once Mars is established as a place for humans. Obviously, there isn’t food or enough water for people there currently, and the atmosphere isn’t fit for humans.
This means that humans would have to live entirely indoors while on Mars in a structure that’s able to withstand temperatures as low as 200 degrees Fahrenheit while also blocking out UV rays from the sun. It’s no easy task, but it’s something that Musk feels is entirely possible within his lifetime.
“We don’t want to be one of those single-planet species, we want to be a multi-planet species,” Musk said. “We need to get back there and have a permanent base on the moon…and then build a city on Mars to become a spacefaring civilization, a multi-planet species.”