Elon Musk Reveals Future Plans For SpaceX's Mars Mission


Last month, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk hosted a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) where he answered questions about the company and his Mars plans. The Q&A session was intended to follow-up on his speech at the International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico, two months ago.

Musk's plan involves large, reusable rocket boosters which can launch spaceships into a "parking orbit." He revealed that these spaceships will be refueled by propellant tankers. Eventually, this mission would lead 1,000 spaceships with 100 people each to go to the Red Planet.

In the Reddit AMA, Musk admitted that his space company SpaceX would create a refueling station first on Mars to harvest methane fuel by sending its Dragon spacecraft on missions. Later on, a spaceship with the equipment to build the station would be sent to the planet.

The Verge reported that the SpaceX CEO and founder revealed how the Falcon 9 rocket and the big booster would line up. "The big booster will have an easier time of things than Falcon, as the mass ratio of the stages is lower and it will have lower density," Musk said. "Net result is that it won't come in quite as hot and fast as Falcon, so Falcon should be a bounding case on the big booster."

Regarding the Interplanetary Transport System (ITS), Musk revealed that it may be configurable and the earliest missions will be focused on cargo than passengers. He also admitted that he and his company will likely reveal how the ITS will be configured after a year or two.

Moreover, Elon Musk believes that the Falcon 9 rockets can be "used almost indefinitely so long as there is scheduled maintenance and careful inspections." The Falcon 9 Block 5, which is the final version of the series, is said to have the most performance and design for easy reuse.

SpaceX is still continuing its investigation on the Falcon 9 rocket explosion last Sep. 1. It was reported that the cryogenic helium system inside the rocket's second stage liquid oxygen tank may have been a major factor in the blast.

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