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Elon Musk claims that the Starship’s first orbital flight has a 50% chance of success

Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of SpaceX, said that the company’s massive new Starship vehicle’s initial orbital mission will essentially be a coin flip.

Starship has about a 50 percent chance of successfully performing the first orbital test flight that SpaceX plans to launch from its South Texas site sometime next month, Musk said last week.

“I’m not saying it’s going to go into orbit, but I guarantee excitement,” Musk said on March 7, during an interview at the Morgan Stanley conference. “Then it won’t be boring!” »

SpaceX is developing Starship to transport people and goods to the Moon and Mars, and to perform many other space travel missions. Musk told the conference that the stainless steel giant vehicle would be the most powerful rocket ever flown, boasting about 2.5 times more thrust than NASA’s iconic Saturn V rocket. And Starship is designed to be completely and quickly reusable, which Musk sees as the key breakthrough needed to make the colonization of Mars and other ambitious feats of exploration a reality. .

SpaceX is building several Starship vehicles at its South Texas site, which the company calls Starbase, and plans to launch them relatively quickly over the next few months.

“So I think we expect to have about an 80% chance of reaching orbit this year,” Musk said in the March 7 interview. “It’s probably going to take us a few more years to get there. full and rapid reusability.”

It’s no surprise that Musk is looking to dampen expectations ahead of Starship’s highly anticipated orbital launch. Rockets often fail on their first flight, as we saw earlier this month with the new Japanese H3 launcher and in January with ABL Space System’s RS1. And we’ve heard similar words from Musk before: He prepared all of us for the possibility of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy crashing and catching fire on its first take-off attempt.

“Hopefully it goes far enough away from the pad to not damage the pad. Honestly, I would even consider that a win,” Musk said of the Heavy in July 2017.

Falcon Heavy exceeded those low expectations, successfully deploying Musk’s red Tesla Roadster and a mannequin pilot wearing a “Starman” spacesuit into orbit around the sun in February 2018. .

But the Falcon Heavy is essentially a variant of SpaceX’s Falcon 9; it connects the first three stages of Falcon 9 together, with the payload upper deck placed atop the central thruster. Starship is a new and more complex vehicle; For example, it uses 33 SpaceX next-generation Raptor engines in the Super Heavy first stage and six Raptor engines in the upper stage. (The Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy both use SpaceX’s venerable Merlin engines.)

You’ll want to tune into Starship’s next orbital flight, whenever it happens and no matter how it ends. Like Musk said, it won’t be boring.

Elizabeth Haire
Elizabeth Haire
Elizabeth Haire is in charge of coverage for laptops and desktops, and he stays current on the most recent developments in the gaming and technology industries. You can find him enjoying video games, watching social media, and waiting for the next Marvel movie when he isn't writing about technology.

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