SpaceX Starship Missions Could Be Much Cheaper Than We Thought

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At the Air Force’s Space Pitch Day, Elon Musk Said That His SpaceX Starship Rocket Will Only Use Around $900,000 Worth of Fuel Per Mission.

Officials from the U.S. Air Force (our actual, functioning space force) met with engineers, business leaders, and tech billionaires today in the first Space Pitch Day. The event took place today and will continue tomorrow and served as a chance for the aforementioned glitterati to sell the Air Force their latest ideas for space tech. During the event, Elon Musk, of course, made some pretty incredible statements about his beloved SpaceX Starship and what it will cost to fly.

Much to the chagrin of NASA, Starship’s been Musk’s passion project for years. The SpaceX founder’s received criticism on more than one occasion by Jim Bridenstine and others. In short, the perception seems to be that Musk has put too much effort into Starship, and not enough effort into Crew Dragon. Meanwhile, NASA has been waiting for both Crew Dragon and the Boeing CST-100 Starliner so that it can stop using Russian rockets to get to space. 

The Cost of Getting to Space—And How SpaceX Starship Will Change The Game.

Presently, we pay more than $80 million for each one of those Russian rides. The price tag, along with tensions (er, maybe not tension per se, but definite weirdness) between our two countries makes the current arrangement, shall we say, less than popular.

By comparison, The current price for a SpaceX Falcon 9 mission—the rocket NASA will use in conjunction with the Crew Dragon capsule—is $62 million.

So when Elon Musk told Lt. General John Thompson today that the SpaceX Starship will only use about $900,000 worth of fuel, jaws dropped around the room. Further, Musk said that he believes the final operational cost of a SpaceX Starship Mission will be around $2 million. This dramatic reduction in cost, if it proves true, will revolutionize the way humans interact with space.

You can watch the full “fireside chat” here:

And Here’s Part 2:

Most of the conversation is pretty dry business and geek stuff, but Musk still managed to be Musk throughout. His vision for the future of Starship is to bring up to 100 people into deep space. He imagines colonies on the Moon, Mars and beyond. And he wants to use the fully reusable Starship system to do it. Musk’s focus remains on the idea of building reusable and rockets and spacecraft in order to reduce costs. And if the revolutionary raptor engines can really get Starship off of the ground for around $2 million in costs per launch, it really will change everything. According to Musk, “It’s absolutely profound to have a reusable rocket. This is the holy grail.”

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Brandon Humphreys

Brandon Humphreys

I'm a wizard. I write stuff and it goes from my head into yours - Magic! Apart from that, I am the Senior Editor for Space Porn, a veteran, a rock guitarist, and a teacher.

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