For those who dream about travelling to Mars, you’ll be glad to hear that a commercial flight to space is set to become a reality soon. If all goes according to plan, in just two years SpaceX, the private US aerospace firm founded by Elon Musk, will make its first commercial mission to space in 2021. The announcement was made recently at the Asia Pacific Satellite Conference in Indonesia.
“We are in discussions with three different customers as we speak right now to be that first mission. Those are all telecom companies.”
The actual spacecraft that will fly the mission is, however, still a work in progress. Two teams based out of Texas and Florida are building two separate versions of the spacecraft. The idea is to design a vehicle that will carry 20 metric tonnes to geostationary orbit and over 100 metric tonnes to low Earth orbit.
While the aim is to eventually use the vehicle to transfer payloads to the Moon and Mars, SpaceX is also looking at the possibility of point-to-point transfers on earth. According to Hofeller, “The goal is to get orbital as quickly as possible, potentially even this year, with the full stack operational by the end of next year and then customers in early 2021.”